Fisher Expected to Change Attorneys Again

Pending a hearing to address questions of her competency and criminal responsibility, a fourth defense attorney is expected to join the case of Melody Fisher, who allegedly helped plan the attempted robbery of a pharmacy in which her co-conspirator was shot and killed.

Dr. Thomas Adamski last month found Fisher to be competent to stand trial. Since then, Fisher’s family filed to have her attorneys, Brent Clyburn and Stephen Herndon, replaced by Edward Gillison Jr. Gillison would be the fourth attorney to represent Fisher in the case, but the first to be retained; Keith Hart was appointed on the magistrate court level, before a conflict brought in Clyburn and Herndon.

Gillison requested Adamski be made available during a pretrial hearing to testify regarding his findings about Fisher’s mental state.

He also requested that Circuit Judge James Mazzone grant his replacement of Clyburn and Herndon. Herndon arrived at court Wednesday with a formal notice of his withdrawal from the case.

Because of outstanding questions regarding Fisher’s competency, however, Mazzone will wait for the pretrial hearing before ruling on the change in defense counsel.

Granting the defense switch with Fisher’s competency in doubt could result in a potential conviction being overturned on appeal.

The judge scheduled the hearing for 10 a.m. March 22.

Fisher did authorize the release of the case file to Gillison on Wednesday.

Gillison did not cite a specific reason behind the change, but said it is not due to any deficiencies in the abilities of Clyburn or Herndon, whom he lauded as skilled attorneys.

Fisher allegedly was in the Elm Grove Pharmacy about four minutes before Kevin Walnoha entered the building on May 25, jumped behind the pharmacy counter and demanded prescription pills from a store employee. When Walnoha turned the gun on a second employee who emerged from a back office, the first pulled a gun from a store safe and fatally shot the would-be robber. Walnoha died at the scene.