The capital murder trial of John Deblase has been delayed for an eighth time after his two court appointed attorneys dropped the case, a week before trial.
Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said she’s angry and believes it was all a legal move.
“This heinous murder occurred in 2010 and here we are in 2014. Frustrated is not even a way to describe how I feel right now,” Rich told FOX10 News. “It’s obvious both Jim Sears and Ashley Cameron have been playing games in this case. They knew exactly what they were doing. It was their trial strategy.”
DeBlase and his common law wife Heather Keaton are accused of gagging, starving and poisoning his 2 children, Natalie and Jonathan DeBlase in 2010. Investigators in Mississippi found Jonathan’s body buried near Vancleave, Mississippi. The remains of 5 year old Natalie were found in the woods near Citronelle.
Rich says 850 jurors were already subpoenaed to appear on March 24, 2014 just for this case.
FOX10 News reached out to Jim Sears and Ashley Cameron to talk about the issue.
Cameron only responded in an email, “There is a gag order in place prohibiting us from making statements to the media.” She continues, writing, “I will look at your report and see if I can respond to anything as soon as I can.”
Sears said he would speak about the case tomorrow.
Presiding Judge Charles Graddick accused Sears of being “disingenuous” in how the case was being delayed using taxpayer funds.
Ashley Rich also noted the same thing.
“I made a request that the defense council not get paid for the work they’ve done in this case based on the conduct they exhibited. I think the public has a right to know how much they’re billing the state of Alabama for their time,” she said.
Rich said the judge denied not paying the attorneys for their work.
A new court appointed attorney will now be assigned to the case and have to get up to speed before the 9th trial date can be scheduled.
FOX10 News is working to get more information from the defense attorneys and also how much the county has invested in Deblase’s defense so far.