PASCO — A man accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend tried to dump his court-appointed attorney Thursday, saying he doesn't trust the man to represent him.
"I can't go to war with someone I don't trust," Kurtis Robert Chapman told Superior Court Judge Craig Matheson.
Chapman of Pasco is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter for allegedly strangling Shenay Greenough, 19, of Pasco, last May.
Her body was found May 10 underneath a Pasco home belonging to Chapman's father. Greenough's almost full-term baby, Kyana Shenay, also died.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
At a Franklin County Superior Court hearing Thursday, Chapman pleaded with Matheson to give him another lawyer. He claimed that Rutt didn't communicate with him and kept changing his story about how Rutt would defend him at his March 9 trial.
"I no longer feel, based on our relationship, that he can defend me due to lack of trust," Chapman said. "He tells me I'm going to court for one thing, and I prepare for it. It doesn't happen."
Rutt disputed Chapman's claims. He told Matheson he had delivered two full sets of discovery, or evidence collected in the case, to Chapman at the Franklin County jail and had met with him numerous times to talk about the case.
"I have kept him apprised," Rutt said.
Chapman didn't offer specifics about his conflicts with Rutt despite being prodded by Matheson.
After hearing from both men, Matheson told them to discuss their issues and try to work out the problems. He added he would consider Chapman's request again at a hearing next week if he still wanted to change lawyers.
Also Thursday, Matheson signed an order excluding four Pasco police officers from being called as witnesses for the prosecution when the case goes to trial.
The four officers reportedly were present when Pasco police Detective William Parramore listened to a recorded telephone call between Chapman and Rutt discussing strategy in the case.
Rutt argued the case should be dismissed because Chapman's Sixth Amendment rights had been violated when police listened to the call.
Parramore, who interviewed Chapman in Pendleton when he was arrested, went to the jail after getting a call that evidence on a cell phone might have been deleted, which could constitute obstruction of justice. Another detective went with him to learn the jailhouse procedure.
Rutt accused Parramore of making a recording of the jail conversation and loudly playing it when other officers could hear it during a shift change at the police station.
After hearing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys, Matheson decided police had listened to the recording in good faith as part of the investigation and refused to dismiss the charges against Chapman.
But he also said prosecutors wouldn't be able to use evidence from the call as part of their case in chief -- the portion of the trial when prosecutors attempt to prove Chapman's guilt.
They can, however, present that evidence in rebuttal if Chapman's lawyers bring it up when presenting their defense.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant did not object to having testimony from the four Pasco officers excluded, as long as he could reserve the right to call them for rebuttal.
* Michelle Dupler: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org