CUMMING — Attorneys for one of three men facing the death penalty in a 2006 farmhouse massacre have asked that the indictment against their client be dismissed.
According to documents filed in Forsyth County Superior Court, Jeffrey S. Purvis and Bobby D. Wilson have not been paid since October 2007 for the work on behalf of Frank Ortegon’s defense.
Because Purvis and Wilson are appointed, the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council/Capital Defender’s Office is responsible for paying them.
Attorneys statewide have reportedly begun asking to withdraw from cases because of the council’s inability to pay them.
Ortegon, Jason McGhee and Marcin Sosniak face 20 charges each in connection with the March 19, 2006, shooting deaths of four people, including three teenagers, at a farmhouse on Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Forsyth County.
Each has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn is seeking the death penalty against all three men, who will be tried separately.
Penn said the case will not be dismissed.
"There aren’t many things in life that I am sure of, but this is one," she said. "I don’t know what the resolution is, but to punish the prosecution and the victims for something that’s not of their doing is not the appropriate way to remedy this situation.
"The defendant shouldn’t benefit from something that’s out of the control of the prosecution."
If the indictment is not dismissed, Purvis and Wilson have asked that Ortegon’s bond be reduced from $2 million cash to $50,000.
Ortegon has been in jail for three years.
Penn said she understands the defense’s frustration, but to dismiss the indictment or reduce Ortegon’s bond is "ridiculous."
The issue first surfaced in February before Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley.
Bagley called it a "constitutional crisis," citing Ortegon’s right to a defense.
According to the request, Ortegon’s defense team hasn’t been able to hire any experts because "it has not received approval for their services or promises that those individuals would be paid."
It goes on to say that until the defense is paid, "counsel for the defendant cannot go forward nor should they be expected to. Otherwise, the defense of Mr. Ortegon will be reduced to nothing more than a sham."
If Bagley decides not to dismiss the indictment, Purvis and Wilson have asked that he order the state to pay them or stay the proceedings until funds can be guaranteed.
A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 29 in Bagley’s courtroom.