COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A judge has granted a hearing less than a week after Brian Lansing Martin filed a handwritten motion asking to terminate his current counsel.
In 2021, Martin was accused of killing a longtime friend William Mealback while driving down Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals. Authorities say just a few miles down the road in Sheffield, Martin shot and killed Sheffield Police Sergeant Nick Risner, and injured another officer, Lt. Max Dotson.
Attorneys Rebecca Thomason and Eddie Beason were both Martin’s court-appointed counsel, but on October 12, he issued a handwritten motion saying he no longer needed their services and requested Judge Mitchell D. Hays set a hearing.
“Effective immediately, I have terminated the services of Rebecca Thomason and Eddie Beason on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel,” Martin stated in the filing.
Judge Hays ordered on Tuesday that this issue could be ‘taken up’ during a status conference set on November 8 at the Colbert County Courthouse.
The motion cited ‘several issues pertaining to Martin’s defense’ that he believes need to be addressed by the court. “Repeated requests for my previous counsel to address the issues have been refused. I am requesting a hearing so that I can advise the court of my concerns,” he wrote.
Hays also ordered that the Department of Mental Health be present during this status conference for a status review of Martin’s mental health evaluations and to discuss his competency to stand trial.
The handwritten motion marked the first real movement in the case since July, when Judge Hays granted a request from Martin’s defense team to visit the scene of the crime.
Martin was indicted in January 2022 on four counts of capital murder in connection with the shooting. He is also charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle, certain persons forbidden to possess a pistol, and abuse of a corpse.
He pleaded not guilty under mental disease or defect to all of his charges at an arraignment hearing in April 2022.
Previously, Martin was arrested in 2011 for killing his father over an owed debt in Tuscumbia and sentenced in 2013 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. He was released from prison in May 2016, according to police.