ANDERSON — Daniel Lee Jones has filed another motion to fire his public defender and is reiterating an earlier demand to represent himself during his murder trial.
This is the second time he has requested to dismiss defense attorney Thomas Alexander Newman. Last year, Jones said he was unhappy with Newman and wanted to fire him as his public defender. In his latest correspondence to the court, Jones cites what he feels is a conflict of interest as the reason for Newman’s removal.
Jones is charged with two counts of murder and criminal confinement in the July 29, 2018, death of 39-year-old Trinity Parker, whose body was found in a vacant Grant County house, and the Aug. 6, 2018, slaying of 35-year-old David L. Phillips II whose corpse was discovered in Anderson’s Rangeline Nature Preserve.
Three other Anderson residents, Jordan Zirkle, Brittney Vontress-Cox and Taylor Wheeler, have been charged with aiding, inducing or causing murder and aiding, inducing or causing criminal confinement in connection with the two homicides.
In a letter filed with the courts on Dec. 4, Jones lists three reasons for Newman’s removal and for Jones to represent himself.
Jones said Newman has failed to represent him “to the best of his ability;” Newman is the son of former Madison County Judge Thomas Newman, who approved the search warrants in his case; and Newman has refused to meet with him and prepare for the trial by filing motions and doing depositions.
Alexander Newman said he is the son of the former judge who signed the search warrants, but he does not believe it creates a conflict for his client.
“He has known about that for 14 months,” Newman said. “Daniel is not happy. I do not blame him. He would like to see some things regarding his defense handled differently – as would I. He and I are in the same boat on that.”
Newman declined to elaborate only saying that he plans to raise issues during the next hearing regarding how resources are being allocated in the case.
“My sole interest in this process is his best interest,” he said. “And I know I am fighting for his best interest.
“I look forward to challenging the state’s case.”
Jones is scheduled to appear before Circuit Court 6 Judge Mark Dudley at 1 p.m. Friday for the hearing to represent himself.