As trial looms, Ogden defendant in Layton murder case tries to fire attorneys
FARMINGTON — A 26-year-old Ogden man charged with aggravated murder in a 2018 drug robbery and shooting is trying to fire his court-appointed attorneys heading into his trial next month.
In a 46-page, mostly handwritten motion filed in 2nd District Court in March, Angel Christopher Abreu accused attorneys B. Kent Morgan and Daniel Matern of incompetent and ineffective representation.
Abreu told Judge David Connors that Morgan and Matern were ignoring his pleas to do more investigation and discovery in his case, which goes to trial May 2. His motion asked Connors to remove the attorneys and appoint a new public defender.
Connors, who rebuffed a similar motion last year, had not ruled on the motion as of Tuesday, according to court records.
Attempts to contact Morgan, the lead defense attorney, were not immediately successful.
Abreu is charged in the Sept. 27, 2018, shooting of Anthony Child, 26, in a Layton mobile home. Charging documents alleged that Abreu and two others robbed several people in a drug house and Abreu fired the rifle shot that killed Child.
Abreu attached to his motion a copy of a Dec. 15, 2020, email from a Davis County prosecutor, Richard Larsen, to Morgan and Matern about plea bargain negotiations.
Larsen wrote that Abreu had rejected a plea bargain offer made when he had a different attorney soon after the shooting. But since then, Abreu’s two co-defendants have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and will testify against Abreu, Larsen said.
Larsen said the best offer to Abreu now is that he plead to the aggravated murder count as charged and that prosecutors would recommend a sentence of 25 years to life rather than life without the possibility of parole.
That plea deal would include the dismissal of the three other charges Abreu faces: aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping and obstruction of justice.
Larsen also said Abreu is “much less deserving of leniency” as the case has progressed. Larsen alleged Abreu had improper contact with a co-defendant in the Davis County Jail and “has been a troublemaker at the jail, including being the intended recipient of a methamphetamine shipment, which was intercepted by deputies.”
Last September, Abreu sued the county in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, alleging police brutality, withheld medical care and infringed religious freedom in the jail. The county has not yet filed a response to the complaint.