YOUNGSTOWN -- Atty. James T. Hartford has been appointed to defend Michael Hogan against charges of murder and aggravated robbery.
Hogan's first lawyer, Mark Lavelle, withdrew from the case last week, saying Hogan had refused to follow his advice and their relationship had broken down. Hogan, as well, said he no longer wanted Lavelle on the case.
Because Hogan cannot afford to pay a lawyer, the court must appoint one to represent him at taxpayers' expense. Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court appointed Hartford after allowing Lavelle to step aside.
Prosecutors had opposed Hogan's request for a new lawyer, saying it was a stall tactic to avoid going to trial. The case was set for trial last week, but the trial was delayed because of the change of attorneys. A new date has not been set.
Authorities say Hogan tried to steal a woman's purse from her car as she and her husband deposited items in recycling bins behind the fire station on South Avenue in Boardman in May. When the husband, 71-year-old John K. Ruble Sr. of Struthers, tried to stop Hogan, he was run over by a car Hogan was driving, authorities say.
Hogan, 37, of Forest Ridge Drive, Boardman, is being held in the county jail while he awaits trial.