Murder convict getting new attorney
By MIKE CORN
A status conference to determine the progress of DNA testing requested by a 66-year-old Gove County convict didn't go far Tuesday morning after the inmate asked for a new attorney.
David A. Stevenson asked District Judge Ed Bouker for a new attorney as part of his request for DNA testing of his father's coveralls. Stevenson was convicted Oct. 13, 2009, in Trego County District Court for the May 13, 2008, murder of his 85-year-old father, Walter A. Stevenson.
The younger Stevenson was sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge.
Late last year, David Stevenson made a jailhouse request for the DNA testing, using a state law that carves out the right of an inmate -- convicted of either murder or rape -- to request the DNA testing.
Hays attorney Kip Johnson was appointed to help him in the request for the testing.
Tuesday, Johnson said Stevenson wanted a new attorney.
Appearing in Ellis County District Court via telephone, Stevenson said that was his request, complaining he hadn't received responses from Johnson.
"My daughter and myself have tried to call him," he said, hoping to get the case "on the front burner and get it going."
"It's been 14 months," Stevenson added, even though a hearing on the DNA request was just conducted in December and his request was granted by Bouker.
Stevenson said he just last month heard from Johnson, who said what the cost of the DNA testing would be, a cost Stevenson would have to bear.
"We found that to be untrue," he said of the cost.
Stevenson sought to go into detail about his wrongful conviction, but was brought up short by the attorney issue.
"We're to a point where I can't effectively represent him and ask to withdraw," Johnson said.
He and Bouker were the only participants in the courtroom, with both Stevenson and Assistant Attorney General Steven Karrer appearing by telephone.
Stevenson is being housed in the Oswego Correctional Facility.
Bouker agreed to let Johnson withdraw from the case and said he would try to find someone to represent Stevenson.
After someone is found, the DNA issue and a new 47-page jailhouse motion seeking to overturn his conviction will be taken up in court.
Stevenson's conviction was upheld in April by the Kansas Supreme Court.