BENTON — The trial of a West Frankfort man accused in an aggravated battery that left his then-girlfriend with severe burns has been delayed.
The jury trial of Christopher Rollins, 28, was scheduled to start Tuesday but a motion heard during his appearance in Franklin County Circuit Court Thursday forced a postponement.
Rollins is accused of throwing a flammable liquid on Tessa Leech, 22, during an argument Aug. 20. The liquid ignited, leaving Leech with severe burns over much of her body.
Judge Thomas Tedeschi heard a motion to withdraw filed by Eric Dirnbeck, Rollins’ public defender.
Dirnbeck told the court Rollins made allegations that indicated he was displeased with his representation. The unspecified allegations left the attorney-client relationship “untenable,” Dirnbeck said.
Franklin County State’s Attorney Evan Owens said he didn’t want to draw out the motion but questioned Rollins’ motivations in making the allegations.
“Mr. Rollins’ actions are nothing more than a delaying tactic,” Owens said, adding that the prosecution was ready for the trial, as were witnesses in the case.
When questioned by Tedeschi, Rollins said he didn’t have an attorney and could not afford one but had written to several about his case.
Tedeschi granted the motion to withdraw and appointed Mike Rowland as Rollins’ public defender.
He set a pretrial conference for May 2 and said he expects to set a trial date at that conference.
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