The security guard accused of the July 2011 Midtown shooting spree that killed one woman and left another paralyzed, is losing his defense lawyer, John Garland.
Garland, who had had taken on the case pro bono, or free of charge, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday that it was the wishes of Thandiwe to be dropped. Outside the courtroom, another attorney working alongside Garland on the case explained further to Patch that it was a matter of finances.
Two months ago, Garland’s request for court-provided financial aid to help mount a defense of Thandiwe, who Garland explained was indigent and couldn’t afford expenses, was denied by Lee.
The case will now be turned over to a public defender, but the attorney outside the courtroom, who asked not to be identified, told Patch Monday that Garland’s office would still offer “whatever assistance possible” in the case.
About not receiving financial assistance, Garland explained to the AJC: "I'm disappointed, but I understand that this is the judge's interpretation of the law" defining indigent defendants.
Lee did set a tentative schedule for Thandiwe's murder trial as it is now on the January 11, 2013 docket. Thandiwe was present in court Monday, but it was not clear if anyone representing the victims were.
In April, the judge ruled that Thandiwes is mentally competent and will face felony murder and numerous other charges for his alleged actions during a July 15, 2011 shooting spree at the Proscenium building that left Brittney Watts dead and Lauren Garcia paralyzed.
Prosecutors have charged Thandiwe with three counts of felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, hijacking a car, aggravated battery and gun possession during the commission of a felony.
Police say Thandiwe, who was a security guard at the Proscenium building where all three women worked, shot Watts in the neck in the building’s parking deck, and then fled the garage in her car, shooting two more women as he exited onto Crescent Avenue. Tiffany Ferenczy suffered a leg injury.
Last November, Thandiwe pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the . At that time and at the request of Garland, Lee ordered in Thandiwe to undergo a mental evaluation.
The judge ruled in April that the accused shooter was capable of comprehending what was happening during a trial.