Nearly a year after a Toledo man was indicted for murder in the fatal beating of a fellow resident of the Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission, his trial was again delayed Monday after his second court-appointed lawyer withdrew from the case.
Houston Hart, 50, who lists the mission at 1917 Jefferson Ave. as his address, is charged with two counts of murder in the death of Joseph Meyers, 53. Mr. Meyers was beaten and stomped at the mission Aug. 3, 2013, and died four days later at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. Mr. Meyers was assaulted after he refused to give Mr. Hart 75 cents, police said.
Mr. Hart’s case had been scheduled to go to trial Monday, but his court-appointed attorney, Dave Klucas, told Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gary Cook that Mr. Hart had filed a complaint against him with the Toledo Bar Association. Mr. Klucas said that while he is not aware of the nature of the complaint, that’s irrelevant.
“It’s a mandatory withdrawal,” he said. “You can’t stay on if there is a potential grievance pending.”
Mr. Klucas was the second attorney appointed to represent Mr. Hart. Last August, Judge Cook appointed Ronnie Wingate to the case, but he withdrew Feb. 19 before a scheduled trial date of Feb. 24.
The case is now scheduled for a pretrial hearing Aug. 20 with Mr. Hart’s new attorney, Merle Dech. Mr. Hart is being held in the Lucas County jail on $500,000 bond.