One of the men charged in the murder of Pellville freshman Melissa “Katie” Autry will now be defended by a new team.
During a pretrial conference Friday, Warren Circuit Judge Tom Lewis appointed public defenders as co-counsel for Stephen L. Soules.
Renae Tuck, directing attorney of the Bowling Green public advocate’s office, and George Sornberger, an attorney from the Frankfort capital trial branch, will now represent Soules.
Soules was formerly represented by Bowling Green attorney Zachary Kafoglis.
Lewis scheduled another pretrial conference for 9 a.m. on Feb. 18.
No trial dates have been set for Soules or Lucas B. Goodrum, the second man charged in Autry’s murder.
Soules’ attorneys were changed because he would not have been able to get any state-funded assistance. Now, without a paid attorney, Soules is considered indigent and eligible for aid.
Kafoglis said Soules’ family doesn’t have the resources to provide the assistance needed if he’d stayed on the case.
“That’s the only representation that will give him adequate representation,” Kafoglis said.
Kafoglis said Soules made the final decision to change counsel.
Tuck requested that Lewis set a date for a pretrial conference, saying that a set trial date at the time would not be appropriate.
Tuck said she needs time to review evidence from discovery, which was turned over to her Friday, and other evidence.
Laboratory results on some evidence are not expected back for about 90 days.
Tuck said she also needs to consult Sornberger, who was in Frankfort during the hearing.
Assistant commonwealth’s attorney Chris Cohron said it is possible that Soules’ trial will not begin until August.
He said this could push Goodrum’s trial to a date in 2005.
Cohron said the outlook for trial dates are reasonable for a capital murder case.
But attorney David Broderick said it is unreasonable for Goodrum to remain in jail without a bond being set.
Lewis has not yet decided whether or not to set a bond for Goodrum.
Goodrum and Soules have been in custody at the Warren County Regional Jail since May.
Broderick said it is unlikely that Goodrum would flee if let out of jail.
Goodrum does not have a passport and he has no record of not appearing in court, Broderick said.
“If there was any question of there being a flight risk, he would’ve been gone,” Broderick said.
“I think his family has the financial resources to stash him anywhere in the world,” Cohron said.
He said Goodrum could be a threat to the public.
Broderick said he’d welcome any restrictions placed in conjunction with a bond being set.
He said there is no evidence against Goodrum, except for statements from Soules.
The Herald reported last week that Broderick said Soules had five different stories about what happened the night Autry was killed.
Broderick said there’s no compelling evidence to convict Goodrum unless there’s something he doesn’t know about.
Assistant commonwealth’s attorney Mike Pearson referred to Soules’ statements.
“Of all the people in the universe he could say were in that room and participated in this crime, he said Lucas Goodrum was there and we did it together,” Pearson said.
Autry died on May 7 in Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
She was raped, sodomized and set on fire while in her dorm room on the second floor of Poland Hall on May 4.
Warren County grand jurors indicted Goodrum on eight felony counts related to the incident. Soules was indicted on nine felony counts.
Both have pleaded not guilty in Warren Circuit Court.
Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]