PENDLETON — Manslaughter defendant John McKenzie Mattila of Weston has a new attorney.
Kent Fisher of Pendleton filed a motion Wednesday with Umatilla County Circuit Court to withdraw as Mattila’s attorney. Fisher in the request told the court that audio recordings of jail phone conversations between Mattila and a family member forced him to back out.
“The conversations, in summation, reflect a complete and total lack of confidence or trust in any aspect of my representation,” Fisher reported. “They are replete with disingenuous remarks about me and attributes falsehoods to my advice and comments.”
Fisher described the situation as a “complete breakdown and an irremedial breach of the attorney-client relationship” and stated the conversations also revealed Mattila intended to file a bar complaint against him.
And while Fisher stated he quarreled with all the “representations,” the greater matter was Mattila “has no trust in any aspect of my ability and he needs different counsel as he is in the fight of his life.”
Judge Jon Lieuallen heard the matter Thursday afternoon in Pendleton, according to court records, and Pendleton attorney Jody Stutsman Vaughan stepped in and told the court that Mattila hired her as his counsel. Fisher in a separate filing consented to the substitution.
The moves come a little more than two months before the case goes to a jury trial. The court records show the trial remains on the docket for Sept. 18-20.
The state has accused Mattila, 24, of driving drunk the night of Feb. 22 and crashing into and killing Adelaida “Lolly” Solis Torres, 52, of Milton-Freewater. Mattila has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter, hit-and-run on an injured person, driving under the influence of intoxicants, third-degree escape and interfering with a peace officer.