By Charlene Bielema
A Clinton County District Court judge has granted a request from a Clinton man seeking to switch attorneys while facing a first-degree murder charge.
Andy Cole on Thursday presented his case to Judge Marlita Greve, saying he does not like the way attorney Bruce Ingham has been defending him against accusations that he killed 27-year-old Alysia Marburger in 2008.
While the state alleges Cole murdered Marburger while committing sexual abuse, which constitutes a felony murder, Cole and Ingham have argued that the bill of particulars and witness testimony do not support that sexual abuse was committed or that the defendant committed the murder during the abuse.
Cole and Ingham had filed a motion to dismiss the charge Dec. 13.
That motion was denied at the end of December, sending the case toward trial.
Ingham, appointed to represent Cole through the Public Defender’s Office, was not present at Thursday’s hearing, with attorney Phil Ramirez appearing in his place. Greve said she had received a handwritten letter from Cole requesting he no longer be represented by that defender’s office and Ingham.
Cole, shackled at the wrists and ankles, read a statement to the court, saying he felt that Ingham had not listened to him, that the motion to dismiss had been filed to soon and that Ingham was not operating “in his best interest.”
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Doug Hammerand, who is prosecuting the case alongside Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf, said he had no objection to the motion. He said he believes Cole was seeking an evidentiary hearing at an inappropriate time, which Greve alluded to earlier in the hearing by saying that she is not allowed to make a credibility determination when considering a motion to dismiss and that Ingham is not to blame for that.
Hammerand said there is a communication breakdown between Cole and Ingham and that because of the nature of the charge, a Class A felony, Cole should be granted new counsel.
Greve agreed, appointing the Dubuque Public Defender’s Office to be in charge of representing Cole — an appointment that is governed by law. A Jan. 31 pretrial conference will take place, and it will be determined at that time whether the Feb. 18 trial date will stand.