Judge denies Hartnell request for new attoney
By Rhett Wilkison
MANTI—A murder defendant said that he wants a new attorney, but the judge ruled it’s too late for that.
That was Michael Janerro Hartnell’s request in 6th District Court on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
But Judge Marvin Bagley replied, “Under the law, I cannot change lawyers or do anything about that at this stage of the case. Believe me, the lawyers are working on your benefit, for your benefit.”
Dana Facemyer is Hartnell’s attorney.
Hartnell is accused of murdering his step father in Indianola on June 1 and turning himself in the same day. According to Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels, Hartnell had reached out to authorities in advance of the murder asking for help with schizophrenia and violent impulses that came with it.
He has been charged with knowing and intentional murder, a first-degree felony; and the purchase, transport, possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony.
Bagley scheduled a review hearing for Sept. 30.
After the hearing was set, Facemyer said that Hartnell wanted to speak. Hartnell then spoke for a relatively extended period about the bias against him.
“Mr. Hartnell, everything that is going on is for your benefit, believe me,” Bagley said.
“Is it?” Hartnell then asked.
“Yes,” Bagley said. “You need to accept that and understand that that’s true. You have been evaluated.”
Hartnell said that he hadn’t been evaluated.
“You’ve had a partial, let’s put it that way,” Bagley said. “But the doctor can’t finish it until he knows about the charges against you.”
Hartnell said that he wasn’t being represented “appropriately.”
“You have a lawyer; he’s a good lawyer. He’s working in your best interest,” Bagley said. “At this point, until we have an evaluation and make a determination as to your competency, I cannot allow you to fire your lawyer.”
Hartnell asked if there was a way to schedule a competency hearing.
“I am ordering one to be done and it’s in the process,” Bagley said.
Bagley repeated a familiar refrain.
“Let me assure you, Mr. Hartnell, that what’s going on is in your interest,” he said.
“We’re working for you,” Bagley added later.
“I really don’t feel like I am being counseled,” Hartnell said.
Facemyer said he has not received the written competency evaluation for Hartnell that would indicate if Hartnell is competent to stand trial.
The evaluator reached out to Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels.
“Because this is a murder case, they will not do it absent having some of the discovery,” Daniels said.