Murder defendant Antonio Vasquez-Vargas has two lawyers in the wake of communication problems with just one.

Attorney Kara Davis of Pendleton in March tried to stop representing Vasquez-Vargas, who faces murder and felon in possession of a weapon for the November 2018 shooting death of Renee Luiz-Antonio where they worked on a dairy in Umapine. Davis in the motion in Umatilla County Circuit Court stated she and her client had a breakdown in communication and trust.

That was not enough, however, to persuade Circuit Judge Christopher Brauer, who denied Davis’ request. Vasquez-Vargas sent his own lengthy motion to the court April 5 seeking a new attorney. He blamed Davis for not representing him and asserted the court forced him to work with an attorney he was in conflict with.

Davis the same day filed a motion asking the court to appoint a co-counsel.

“I believe that the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter are more complicated than the average case,” Davis stated in the request. “I believe communication between myself and the client would be improved with the assistance of another attorney.”

She also told the court the state Office of Public Defense Services agreed to the appointment of another attorney. Brauer on April 8 granted Davis’ request and appointed Dean Gushwa of Pendleton as the co-counsel.

The next hearing in the case is a status check Monday morning in Pendleton.

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