MORGAN -- A man charged with trying to stab a child has been granted a new public defender during a hearing in 2nd District Court.
Andrew Pentz, 30, Morgan, is charged with three felonies and five misdemeanors, including aggravated assault and a federal offense of firearms possession by a restricted individual.
At the same hearing where a new attorney was appointed for Pentz, a Feb. 27 trial date was set for Shelly Lynn Ezell, 50, Morgan. She is charged in the same case with retaliating against and harassing the main witness in the case. The felony retaliation charge could result in a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The harassment misdemeanor could carry up to six months in jail.
The charges arose after Pentz, Ezell and six others went camping Oct. 17 near Spring Hollow road in Enterprise. A Morgan man was helping Pentz fix his motor home when Pentz allegedly took out its battery and stabbed it repeatedly with a 10-inch Bowie knife.
Then Pentz grabbed the man in a choke hold and then let go, but he began to chase the man's 4-year-old son with the knife.
Morgan County deputies arrested Pentz at the scene.
Judge Noel Hyde had originally denied Pentz's request on Nov. 22 that he be allowed to fire his public defender, Steve Laker, after Pentz objected to Laker's motion he undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Hyde's reasoning was that the lawyer was a public defender, and therefore Pentz did not get to choose. The judge approved Laker's motion and ordered Pentz undergo the mental evaluation.
But although Pentz did not get to choose, Laker was allowed to quit. In this week's hearing, Hyde approved Laker's request that he be allowed to withdraw from the case. Pentz's new attorney is now Ryan Bushell, also a public defender.
A status conference is now set for Feb. 13, which is when the attorneys and the judge will review the evidence and charges. There was no information immediately available about whether Pentz was ever given a psychiatric evaluation.