Judge denies change of attorney request by man accused of beating girlfriend to death
John Hales and James Tilson
MANTI—A judge last week denied a change-of-attorney request made by the man accused of the beating death of his live-in girlfriend last March.
At the same court hearing on Wednesday, July 5, County Attorney Brody Keisel vehemently denied defendant Anthony Christensen’s allegation that Keisel was behind what Christensen called “mistreatment” at the county jail, where he is being held.
In part, the hearing was held to discuss a motion Christensen had filed from jail asking to dismiss his public defender, David Angerhoffer, from the case. The motion stated that Angerhofer was not working hard enough on his case and, in effect, neglecting it.
“It’s kind of hard to speak to him when there is nothing new to offer,” Angerhoffer responded.
Keisel agreed that the case had been in a holding pattern while he waited for information from the state. Primarily, Keisel said later, the case is stalled until he receives an official report from the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office and forensic results from the Utah State Crime Lab.
Keisel said he had continued to seek those results, with assurances that the reports would be “coming up soon.”
“There is nothing else I can do except to keep after those offices,” Keisel said.
This week, Keisel said inquiries to the examiner’s and lab’s offices had met with responses that were more of the same.
But lack of information was not Christensen’s only complaint, and he spoke of what he called mistreatment at the jail, which he claimed he had been told was being directed at him by the “DA,” or district attorney—in this case, Keisel,
Christensen said he did not have access to a law library. He said one of his witnesses told him that a police officer had intimidated her. And he spoke of other housing conditions at the jail.
“No other inmate is being treated like me,” he said.
Keisel strongly denied having any influence regarding Christensen’s treatment in jail.
“I have absolutely nothing to do with anything at the jail,” he said, reiterating this week, “It’s not my jail. I very seldom have any communication with the jail about different aspects of who they put where.”
Judge Wallace Lee saw no legitimate grounds for dismissing Angerhoffer, but did have some empathy for Christensen’s frustration at having been in jail for so long with the case at a dead standstill.
Christensen was arrested on March 31, after police discovered the body of Kammy Mae Edmunds in the couple’s home, the apparent victim of a brutal attack.
“I don’t want to see you languish,” Lee said. He directed the attorneys to push for the reports, and set the case for a status hearing on July 19.
“Judge Lee will not stand for delay,” Keisel said Tuesday, adding that he could imagine the judge issuing an order for the state lab to explain why there had been so much delay if results are not produced soon.
Unlike the judge, Keisel did not have much sympathy for Christensen at the hearing. He noted that there were many of Edmunds’ loved ones in the courtroom who were stunned by Christensen’s statements and attitude.
“He is not the victim,” Keisel said. “The victims are behind me. This type of behavior is putting the spotlight on him. But he’s still alive.”
A close friend of Edmunds, Tameron Powell, was in the court gallery.
“I was disgusted and outraged,” Powell said afterward. “He’s still claiming he didn’t touch her. In no way, shape or form did he show any grief or loss or shame or grief that she’s dead. Instead, he’s concerned that he’s not getting all the rights and privileges that he thinks he should have. It was very painful. We all cried.”
Powell and Edmunds’ mother, Tammy Coates, are currently in the process of establishing a nonprofit charitable foundation, the Kammy Mae Edmunds Foundation, which they say will bring awareness to resources that are available to victims of domestic violence