Hamilton hazing suspect, mother want defense attorney removed from case

Defense attorney Ken Countryman submitted a motion to withdraw from the Hamilton High School hazing case, citing irreconcilable differences.

A suspect accused of severe sexual hazing on the Hamilton High School football team wants his attorney off the case.

Nathaniel Thomas, 17, and his mother sent a termination letter to attorney Ken Countryman citing issues with communication, organization and sensitivity.

The letter says Countryman is not updating the family on the case or returning their calls. According to the letter, it took seven weeks for Countryman to provide a case file, and when the family received it, it was incomplete.

Last month, Countryman filed a motion to remove himself from the case.

The motion to cited irreconcilable differences between Countryman and Thomas' mother, but he wrote to 12 News' Charly Edsitty Friday:

"The court has that motion on hold and has not ruled upon. I am continuing to work with the family to get the best result for Mr. Thomas. He is a wonderful kid who is innocent of these charges."

The trial is set to begin early next month. A settlement hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15, but Countryman declined to comment on the specifics of that hearing, only stating that he is working to get the case transferred back to juvenile court.

Of the three suspects charged in the case, Thomas is the only one charged as an adult.

It's not clear what impact Countryman's situation with the family may have on the schedule, or why the motion is on hold.

Thomas faces molestation and sexual assault charges in the hazing scandal. He pleaded not guilty in September.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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