WICHITA, Kan. – The court-appointed attorneys for a man accused of plotting to bomb a Kansas apartment complex filled with Somali immigrants asked a judge to let them withdraw from the case, saying in a filing Monday that they have lost their client's trust and cannot satisfy his expectations.
The request from attorneys for Patrick Stein comes in the wake of last week's arraignment on a revised indictment. Stein told the magistrate judge at that time he was unwilling to be represented by attorneys Edward Robinson and Kristen Wheeler. Stein said during the hearing that they were providing "ineffective assistance of counsel," and that he wanted to hire his own attorney.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren has now scheduled a hearing Tuesday on the attorney matter.
Prosecutors allege Stein and co-defendants Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen conspired to detonate truck bombs at a 100-unit apartment complex where Somali immigrants live in Garden City in western Kansas. The attack was planned to occur the day after the November election.
The three Kansas men had earlier pleaded not guilty to conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, and a revised indictment last week added new charges against them alleging they plotted for months last year to "injure, oppress, threaten and intimate" Somalis who lived at the complex. Wright also is charged with lying to the FBI, while Allen and Stein face gun charges.
Stein's arraignment last week on the revised charges was halted after he requested time to pursue hiring his own lawyer.
The written filing from the court-appointed attorneys exposes rifts between Stein and those lawyers over how to defend the case. Stein wants to challenge the validity of a search warrant for his home and insists on bringing the case to trial as soon as possible.
The attorneys wrote that Stein has made it clear he has no further use for them. They wrote that he has accused them of "actively working to harm his interests" and that he "is insisting on a trial date that can only be regarded as self-destructive."
The lawyers, citing the vast volume of evidence they are receiving, say they have put their other work on hold for the most part to focus on Stein's defense. But, according to their filing, Stein thinks the attorneys are advocating for the government's interests since they are appointed and paid by the court.
"Robinson and Wheeler have done everything in their power to advise Mr. Stein and defend his interests, but they have lost his trust and will not be able to satisfy his expectations," his attorneys wrote.