LIMA — What was listed on the court docket as a change of plea hearing took on a decidedly different path Tuesday morning in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Lima resident Demondtray Burns, 19, who was believed to be on the verge of accepting an offer from prosecutors in his aggravated robbery case, instead will get a new court-appointed attorney to represent him.
His previously appointed attorney, Carroll Creighton, on Tuesday made an official motion to the court asking to withdraw as Burns’ legal counsel. That request came on the heels of a letter written by Burns to the court in which the teenager asked for a new lawyer. Both men said communications between them had broken down. Creighton said that with the communication gap, “I don’t feel I can effectively represent him.”
Judge Jeffrey Reed agreed and said a new attorney would be appointed for Burns in the near future. A Sept. 17 trial date for the Lima teenager now seems unlikely, the judge said.
Burns was indicted in July on a first-degree felony count of aggravated robbery, a charge that includes a three-year firearm specification.
According to court documents, the charges against Burns stem from a May 18 incident during which he met a female victim, using a fake name, under the guise of purchasing a cellphone from her. The pair met on Mumaugh Road, near Rhodes State College, to complete the transaction, but Burns told the alleged victim he had forgotten the $400 to purchase the phone and needed to go home to get it. He returned an hour later, pulled a gun from the vehicle’s console and told the victim he was going to take the phone, police say.
The woman later described the vehicle involved in the theft to police and said the driver was a black male who was wearing a red shirt who had taken her pink phone.
Deputies later located a vehicle matching the description given by the female. Two subjects, Burns and a juvenile female, were removed from the vehicle. A pink phone and a red shirt were found stuffed between the seat and the center console, police said.