By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
The July 10 trial remains scheduled for two men facing charges in connection with a February stabbing attack on one defendant’s girlfriend.
Anthony Edward Potter-Spicer, 30, and Vincent Monroe Lawson, 59, both of Skyview Drive in Williamsburg, appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court Monday before Judge Dan Ballou.
Lawson, who remains free on a $20,000 property bond, was the first of the pair called before the judge. He faces one charge of facilitation to commit murder.
Lawson was represented by attorney Paul Croley, while Potter-Spicer’s attorney is Jim Wren. Potter-Spicer faces charges of attempted murder and first-degree assault after allegedly attacking his girlfriend, Ashley Warren. He remains jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center.
Croley made the motion Monday to have the cases tried separately. “All the facts which form the basis for this charge happened after the fact in this case,” Croley said. “The Commonwealth is alleging (that Lawson provided) him with (assistance).”
Eventually Lawson, who was sporting a medical cane, was allowed to sit.
Trying the cases together “would be prejudicial,” Croley said. “(We) would not get a fair trial.”
Croley added that he felt the Commonwealth could not prove that Lawson participated in the planning of the alleged assault itself.
He also said that Lawson would “be forced to testify against himself,” in a joint trial, which he said violates his Fifth Amendment rights.
Ballou asked “what’s the difference” if the two cases are tried together. “He’d have to testify either way — that potential is there,” Ballou said.
“It still should be his choice,” Croley said, adding that the U.S. Supreme Court “spoke directly to this” type of circumstance.
Commonwealth Attorney Allen Trimble then stood and approached the lectern — and disagreed with Croley. “What better place to (try this case) but in a joint trial,” he said.
Croley basically said the argument concerns the charges — facilitation to commit murder versus accessory after the fact. He then read the definition via a cell phone connection provided by Attorney B.J. Foley.
“The evidence will show (Lawson) guilty of the crime (he’s) charges with,” Trimble argued.
“No it won’t,” Lawson retorted.
Ballou then stepped in and chastised him for speaking out.
Then the co-defendant in the case, Potter-Spicer, was brought out with his attorney.
Wren said he wanted to get Potter-Spicer released from custody or even get a new trial. Trimble argued that the Williamsburg Police Department said Lawson “provided shelter and comfort” to Potter-Spicer knowing the police were searching for him.
Croley soon after reiterated a joint trial was “prejudicial,” adding there “was no evidence Lawson took part in the planning or the actual event at all.”
Croley added that he would face “antagonistic defenses,” and “a tremendous amount of undue prejudice if Lawson has to testify.”
Trimble was visibly frustrated, and then Wren said that Potter-Spicer “does not intend” to incriminate Lawson during his trial.
It was then said the trial would be the same day next week, and Croley then mentioned he was “moving to continue” the case.
Their cases are slated for jury trial 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 10.
According to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, Warren tried to end her relationship with Potter-Spicer for some time before she was stabbed.
“The night of the incident, he accused her of having an affair,” Bird said, alleging the two were arguing by that point. “He pulled the knife, stating, ‘If he couldn’t have her, no one else would either.’”
Warren ran, but didn’t get far, according to Bird. “He tackled her and began to stab her repeatedly,” Bird alleged. Warren was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where she was treated and eventually released.
It was learned during his March 4 preliminary hearing the bulk of this alleged physical attack happened in front of a neighbor, Betty Bundy, who contacted police. Williamsburg Police Detective Bobby Freeman testified at that hearing Warren received stab wounds to her chest, back, buttocks, throat and hands.
Potter-Spicer resided with Lawson at Lawson’s home on Skyview Drive, according to Freeman, who also testified the defendant was tracked from the scene of the alleged attack toward the Cumberland River. However, Potter-Spicer was actually arrested in the basement of his residence. The police department’s tracking dog located him under a bed and actually bit Potter-Spicer, according to Freeman’s testimony. The knife used in the attack was never recovered.
For his charges in Whitley County, Potter-Spicer remains jailed under a $50,000 cash bond with an ankle bracelet. For other police agencies, he has two cash bonds, one for $163 and the other for $2,503. According to JailTracker, he is also considered a fugitive from another state — and that listing shows no bond for that fugitive warrant.