By Karen Hall
A Lewisburg man accused of murder was indicted by the grand jury Wednesday, and another man charged with criminal attempted first-degree murder will be getting a new lawyer.
Phillip Burgess, 33, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of aggravated assault.
All these resulted from an incident on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 7. Burgess is alleged to have gone to an apartment on Martin Avenue, got into some kind of altercation, and fatally shot Joey Perryman, 48, also of Lewisburg. Perryman's 15-year-old nephew was wounded. Another juvenile and a woman were also reported to be in the apartment but escaped unharmed.
"Burgess ... admitted to shooting the victims and stated he was acting in self-defense," reported Lewisburg Police Detective Sgt. David Henley at the time, adding that the motive was still under investigation. Lewisburg detectives Scott Braden and James Johnson and Marshall County Sheriff's Detective Capt. Bob Johnson also worked on the case. Burgess is represented by the Public Defender's Office.
Meanwhile, the Public Defender's Office will no longer represent Ryan Haase, due to a perceived conflict of interest after a jail riot in Lincoln County.
Haase was indicted on a charge of criminal attempted first-degree murder for allegedly pouring hot oil onto his girlfriend Lindsay Arp.
Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard went on record stating that he opposed allowing them to withdraw, but Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler explained that all of the inmates in one cell block had received criminal charges for rioting and vandalism. Crigler and the Lincoln County General Sessions judge had agreed it would be better for each inmate to have a separate attorney, Crigler said.
Crigler had Hershell Koger of Pulaski standing by to take over Haase's case and represent him at the trial due to begin April 25, but Koger will not know until next week whether he has a scheduling conflict with a federal case.
Haase allegedly poured hot oil on Arp as she slept in their home on David Avenue, Lewisburg, on April 11.
Arp received severe burns to more than one-third of her body. She spent four months at Vanderbilt, and was then transferred to a rehabilitation center. Now she is at home in Lewisburg, being cared for by her mother. Arp and her parents attend court every time Haase makes an appearance, and have been working closely with Barnard and District Attorney Chuck Crawford to prepare for Haase's trial.
Also in court Wednesday was Roy Overcast, 71, who asked the judge to have different lawyers appointed for him. Overcast was indicted in November, charged with attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and resisting arrest, following a shooting incident in July. He told Crigler the Public Defenders were not working hard enough for him, and did not understand his case. The judge refused to grant Overcast's request.
"This all goes back to something that happened 50 years ago," Overcast said as he was led away. "He knows all about it," he said, gesturing at Barnard.
Also Wednesday, one of two women indicted on charges of "elder abuse," Crystal Hamler, 20, of 7th Avenue, was back in court to tell Crigler she had been unable to find a lawyer she could afford to hire. The judge had her fill out an affidavit of indigency, and then assigned the Public Defender's Office to represent her.
Indictment does not mean a person is guilty. That's determined by a trial or by a guilty plea.