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Murder suspect fires attorney

LISBON — Accused murder suspect Gary Joiner fired his defense attorney just weeks before he was scheduled for a jury trial in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Joiner, 43, Homeworth Road, Homeworth, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, murder, having weapons while under disability and tampering with evidence in the shooting death of Ryan Virden in March.

Defense attorneys Jeffrey Jakmides and Julie Jakmides Mack filed a motion on Jan. 14, asking to be allowed to withdraw as counsel for Joiner.

During Thursday’s hearing before Judge Scott Washam, Jeffrey Jakmides said Joiner recently indicated he no longer wanted Jakmides to represent him, adding “he said I was fired.”

Although Jakmides had been retained as paid counsel, Washam noted in two other cases, Joiner had filed paperwork proving he is indigent and qualified for a public defense attorney. Washam appointed Charley Kidder and Colleen Hall-Dailey, two attorneys with Defendants Have Rights, Inc., the current public defenders organization representing defendants in the county.

Chief Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart said the timing of the defendant’s decision to fire his counsel was “obviously suspicious” and urged Washam to quickly set a hearing to get the case back onto the calendar with the new attorneys.

The jury trial, which had been scheduled for Jan. 31, was been postponed with Joiner indicating in court he understood that would happen following his decision. A status conference with the new attorneys is scheduled for Monday morning.

Jakmides indicated he has provided Joiner with all the written discovery at the county jail and would immediately provide other items he has been given to the two attorneys now involved in the case.

Joiner remains in the county jail with a $1 million cash or surety bond.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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