Judge to Rule on Attorney Withdrawal
MINOT – With a court trial set for less than two weeks away the defendant is seeking a change of attorney. Judge Douglas Mattson heard arguments on a Motion to Withdraw in a courtroom here Friday.
Theophris Drake, 40, Birmingham, Alabama, who is facing five felony charges, told Mattson that he and his attorney, Elisabeth Hewett, Minot, recently had a breakdown of communication and that he wished to have her removed from the case.
Mattson told the defendant that, “I don’t know how it would be with a different attorney. I don’t know if it would make a difference.”
The State objected to a change of attorney, saying, “There is no other purpose than to delay and we are 11 days out from the trial.”
The charges against Drake stem from a shooting incident outside the Dakota Lounge in the early morning of February 2, 2023, in which two victims were transported to Trinity Hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. According to Minot Police, the shooting occurred following “aggressive bumping” and ensuing argument.
Drake fled the scene but was arrested by police at nearby Cash Wise Grocery. A handgun was found at that location.
While both shooting victims survived, one suffered permanent damage to stomach and bowels, and a fractured pelvis. Drake was charged with Aggravated Assault, a class B felony, five additional class C felonies, one of which was later dismissed – Unlawful Possession of Firearm-Violent Felon.
Mattson did not immediately rule on the Motion to Withdraw, saying he would issue his ruling Monday morning, October 16. He advised attorneys for both sides to understand that there “very well may be a trial” as scheduled beginning Oct. 24.