Motion for new lawyer denied to man who pleaded guilty in Dowagiac murder

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CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (WNDU) - Friday brought some 11th-hour legal maneuvering from a man who is 10 days away from being sentenced for murder.

Rolandis Russell was in a Cass County courtroom seeking a different public defender.

Last month, Russell pleaded guilty to the July 2018 shooting death of 42-year-old Fabian "Jimmy" Wesaw in Dowagiac (2nd degree murder).

"He's in a difficult situation, and there are simply differences between us that make it impossible for me to continue to represent him," defense attorney Tat Parish said.

Parish pointed out that despite those differences, there was no lack of respect between him and his client.

The prosecutor objected to the last-minute motion by the defender to withdraw.

"I think it's worth noting that this matter is over a year old," Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said. "This began in July of 2018. Defense counsel has vigorously represented his client."

Fitz also said he saw the motion as a delay tactic and a precursor to a possible motion to vacate the plea agreement.

The judge rejected the request for a new attorney and refused to delay Russell's sentencing date of Oct. 14.