Judge grants Allen Prue's request for new lawyer - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Judge grants Allen Prue's request for new lawyer

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Allen Prue Allen Prue
Patricia Prue Patricia Prue
Melissa Jenkins Melissa Jenkins

A shackled Allen Prue entered a St. Johnsbury courtroom Monday.

The murder suspect's mom still stands behind her son.

"I have to support him. He's my son," Donna Prue said. "It's pretty hard, but I have to be here."

Sixteen months after her son and daughter-in-law, Patricia Prue, were charged with the abduction and murder of 33-year-old school teacher Melissa Jenkins, their trials are still on hold. The proceedings have been plagued by delays, from the defendants demanding new trial locations, to refusing DNA samples and now requests for new lawyers.

Ten days ago, a judge ordered Patricia Prue's lawyer off the case. Now, her husband is seeking a similar outcome. Allen Prue asked the court to dismiss his lawyer, Dan Maguire, citing conflicts.

"It's not my decision; it's his," Donna Prue said. "He hasn't been happy with this one. I don't know why."

Monday, prosecutors told the court Maguire could be called as a witness in the state's case. And Maguire revealed he recently learned one of his clients will also testify against the Prues.

"In order to avoid all of those issues that might affect his ability to provide competent and unconflicted representation, the court will grant both motions for Mr. Maguire to leave the case," Vt. Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout said.

The name of Maguire's mystery client was never mentioned before the judge, but a check of court records shows Maguire currently represents Raymond Crickard, 53. The Lunenburg man has been convicted of possessing child pornography and is currently incarcerated for multiple pending charges of aggravated child sex assault. So, what's the connection to the Jenkins case? WCAX News has learned Crickard is dating the defendant's mom, Donna Prue. Maguire declined to discuss the connection.

"I already have two new lawyers for them and it wasn't a big challenge," Vermont Defender General Matthew Valerio said.

Valerio says Bob Katims will represent Allen Prue and attorney Rob Sussman will defend Patricia.

"The biggest issue is the lawyers that are in the Northeast Kingdom may have had some contact with potential witnesses or the like. But it's not really an issue with regard to lawyers. The two lawyers now are out of Burlington, so I don't think it's that big of a deal," Valerio said.

The Prues will be tried separately, but their trials will remain in Caledonia County. September court dates have been set in both cases, giving the new lawyers time to review case files. Pretrial schedules will be set in September.

As for a lawyer being called to testify against his former client, the defender general says attorney-client privilege does apply, but in this case Dan Maguire would be testifying about chain of custody regarding computer evidence that was acquired during the time Mr. Maguire represented Allen Prue. However, most of the time prosecutors and defenders work out an agreement so the lawyer does not have to testify and the defender general says that will likely happen in this case.

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