Trial postponed in case of YMCA basketball game assault

LIMA – Monday’s scheduled trial of Quintez Burns, charged with felonious assault for an altercation that took place during a basketball game at the Lima YMCA earlier this year that left one man seriously injured, was postponed Thursday at Burns’ request.

In what was scheduled as a change-of-plea hearing in Allen County Common Pleas Court, the Lima man had a change of heart and instead asked the court to appoint a new attorney to represent him.

Thomas Lucente, the third lawyer to serve as legal counsel to Burns since his indictment in September of last year, told Judge Terri Kohlrieser he agreed that the appointment of a new attorney was probably in Burns’ best interests.

Burns, 27, was indicted in connection with a fight at the YMCA that, according to the indictment, caused “serious physical harm to Preston Patrick.”

Kohlrieser said her office had been contacted last week after Burns reportedly had agreed to a negotiated plea deal that would cap his prison time at five years.

From the start of Thursday’s hearing, however, it was clear Burns was in no mood to plead. He told the judge that communication between himself and Lucente had broken down and expressed his frustration with his attorney’s overall representation.

Kohlrieser noted that Burns already has filed several writs with the Ohio Supreme Court protesting the slow pace at which his case has moved forward and other listing complaints with the local court.

“So here’s the problem, Mr. Burns,” Kohlrieser said. “If communications between yourself and Mr. Lucente have broken down you have two options. One, a new lawyer will be appointed and your trial will be postponed; or, two, you can represent yourself at trial, which presents its own set of difficulties.”

Burns opted to have another lawyer appointed because, he said, “I don’t feel he (Lucente) can properly defend me.”