Defense Attorneys Withdraw from Capital Murder Case

Defense Attorneys Withdraw from Capital Murder Case

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A judge scheduled trial and allowed defense attorneys to withdraw as counsel for Mark Anthony Ott, who is charged with capital murder in the arson death of a 6-year-old girl.

Aric Cramer and Bill Morrison were removed from the case Monday after they said Mark Anthony Ott's financial resources were exhausted.

Second District Court Judge Michael G. Allphin appointed John T. Caine as Ott's attorney for the four-week trial set to begin March 16.

Caine said he is working with the indigency capital fund and believes they can come to an agreement on how much to pay him.

Caine is qualified to handle capital murder cases, Cramer said.

Caine also told the judge the Utah Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a petition Cramer had filed contending Ott should not be charged with capital murder because did not know the victim, Lacey Paige Lawrence, was in the house on Sept. 1, 2002.

Ott is accused of entering the Layton home of his ex-wife, Donna Ott, and stabbing Allen Lawrence, Donna Ott's boyfriend, and Sarah Gooch, Donna Ott's daughter, and then setting the house on fire, causing the death of the daughter of Allen Lawrence.

Allphin also agreed for a mitigation specialist to be hired. Her job will be to put together a report to show why Ott, if he is convicted, should not be sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, in another hearing in Commissioner David S. Dillon's courtroom, Donna and Mark Ott appeared to discuss details of their divorce. Donna Ott had filed for divorce in June 2002. Dillon set Dec. 19 and 22 for a trial.

Mark Ott's attorney for his divorce said she also wants to withdraw from the case.

Dillon told Mark Ott that he would need to get an attorney to represent him or he would have to represent himself at the trial.

Mark Ott is serving time in prison for violating a protective order.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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