Solicitor Kevin Brackett of the 16th Circuit has asked the solicitor in the 13th Circuit in Greenville to take his place in trying Julia Phillips, 66, who faces a murder charge in connection with the slaying of her longtime boyfriend and former York Mayor Melvin Roberts.
The decision comes after Phillips' attorney requested Brackett be removed from the case because the solicitor knew Roberts for more than 20 years. Roberts' law firm also closed the loan on Brackett's home several years ago, Brackett said.
Brackett said he understands how "a casual observer might question (his) objectivity," even though he feels he's been fair to this point.
Not wanting even the appearance of a conflict of interest and the fact that others close to Roberts already have left the case convinced Brackett to hand over the case.
Solicitor Robert Ariail has agreed to assume responsibility of the case, Brackett said.