New lawyer for man accused in Madison County cartel-linked double-murder case

Israel Gonzalez Palomino (Courtesy: Madison County Jail)

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — A man charged in connection with the deaths of a Madison County woman and her granddaughter was given a new attorney Tuesday after a judge granted the withdrawal of his original lawyer.

Ron Smith notified the court on November 12 he had to withdraw from the case due to a conflict of interest. Smith said he couldn’t disclose the conflict.

A judge approved the motion November 19 and appointed Huntsville attorney Bruce Gardner to the case.

Palomino and Yoni Aguilar are both facing a possible death sentence for the murders of Oralia Mendoza and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Mariah Lopez. A grand jury indicted them on capital murder charges in late October.

Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigator Stacy Rutherford testified at a preliminary hearing in July 2018 that the murders were related to Mendoza’s ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel and that Lopez was beheaded after witnessing Mendoza being stabbed, according to our news partner AL.com.

Palomino is slated to go on trial in December for trafficking methamphetamines. Aguilar is scheduled for a status call on Dec. 20.

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