Suspected burglar Jeffrey L. Patton said he can't see eye-to-eye with defense attorney Tom Nicholson, so he wants new counsel.
Citing the presence of a Reflector reporter in the courtroom Tuesday, Patton declined to get into specifics with Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway. The defendant said he didn't have any attorneys in mind, but he was looking into hiring someone.
Patton, 43, of 405 Park St., Willard, was in court for a pre-trial hearing. He is charged with burglary in connection with being the suspected accomplice of Robert L. Hamman, 44, of Willard. Authorities have said the pair broke into a sleeping woman's Holiday Lakes residence March 11 with the purpose of robbing her and started rifling through a drawer with jewelry in it. The woman, who woke up, chased the suspects away with a firearm.
Patton and Hamman fled to Macomb County, Mich., which is north of Detroit. Authorities said they had a hotel surrounded -- with two local detectives and 17 Macomb County sheriff's deputies, but the pair fled through an emergency exit before the perimeter was secured. Two Huron County sheriff's detectives arrested the suspects March 14 with the help of Macomb County officers.
On Sept. 6, Hamman was sentenced to five years in prison for a local burglary conviction. Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler has said he hopes the state can "make him testify against his buddy" -- referring to Patton.
Leffler, at Tuesday's hearing, requested Patton be held without bond until his next hearing because he was arrested recently on new charges, including tampering with evidence. The prosecutor accused the suspect of refusing to submit to a drug screen at the Huron County Jail.
Patton vehemently denied having anything to do with the drugs he is accused of hiding in someone else's vehicle.
"That was not mine," the defendant said. "I've been doing good. ... I've had no slip-ups."
Despite Patton's protests and several requests to take a polygraph test, the court ordered him held without bond. Conway reminded the defendant he is responsible for whose vehicle he enters -- whether he is out on bail or not.
Patton's trial date is Jan. 21.