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April 17, 2014

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Man charged in Las Vegas Strip shooting, crash gets new attorneys

Image

Steve Marcus

Ammar Harris, the suspect the Feb. 21 Las Vegas Strip shooting and car crash that killed three people, appears in court at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.

Ammar Harris in Court in October 2013

Ammar Harris, the suspect the Feb. 21 Las Vegas Strip shooting and car crash that killed three people, appears in court at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Strip shooting crash

Smoke and flames billow from a burning vehicle following a shooting and multicar accident on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Ammar Harris, accused of a February shooting on the Las Vegas Strip that left three people dead, changed court-appointed attorneys this morning.

Private criminal defense attorneys Thomas Ericsson and Robert Langford will replace Harris’ public defenders.

In court Monday, Special Public Defender David Schieck said his office’s relationship with Harris, 27, was marred so badly that Harris was refusing to talk with his attorneys and was threatening to sue them in federal court.

Schieck said he couldn’t go into detail about the breakdown of the relationship without violating attorney-client privilege, but he pinned the bulk of Harris’ discontent on the attorneys wanting Harris to waive his right to a speedy trial in his capital murder case.

The change will force a delay in the case, which Harris told a judge on Monday he would not object to, if it meant getting new attorneys.

Schieck also indicated Harris took issue with how his attorneys handled his defense in an unrelated rape case.

Harris was found guilty in September of three counts of sexual assault and one county of robbery in the 2010 incident.

“It is not uncommon for defendants that are convicted to complain about their counsel when that trial is over,” Schieck said Monday.

In the capital case, Harris is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Police reports and court records indicate that in the early morning hours of Feb. 21 in the valet area of Aria, Harris got into an argument with aspiring rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr.

After the two drove off in separate vehicles, Harris is accused of shooting at Cherry’s car as they were driving north on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Cherry subsequently lost control of the car, ran a red light and slammed into a cab, causing it to explode.

Cherry died, as did cab driver Michael Boldon, 62, and Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, a businesswoman from Maple Valley, Wash., who was riding in the cab.

Freddy Walters, a passenger in Cherry’s car, was shot but survived.

A new trial date for Harris will be determined at 9 a.m. on Nov. 25.

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