The woman charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter last December had a new lawyer represent her in a Pinal County Superior Courtroom Monday.
Florence attorney Bret Huggins made his first appearance defending Kathryn Sinkevitch, 32, whose trial is scheduled to begin in May of next year.
The former public defender for Sinkevitch, James Mannato, withdrew from the case in June.
In court documents, Mannato motioned to withdraw from the Sinkevitch case, citing “conflict of interest” under the authority of Arizona State Bar Ethical Rule 1.16.
Mannato said he could not make public comment about nor clarify his decision to withdraw.
Huggins entered his notice of appearance to the court on June 28, and represented Sinkevitch for the first time in front of Judge Kevin White Monday morning.
His work on the case is just beginning as Huggins works to collect evidence and documents first obtained by Mannato.
“I’m trying to get the discovery that the public defender had and I haven’t got that all together yet,” Huggins said.
Court documents show the prosecution, in preparation for trial, has called the Phoenix Police Department Crime Lab as witness to the case. There is also notice to the defendant of evidence including jail mail, forensic audio, forensic video reports and power of attorney.
In June, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office motioned for the taking of a sample of Sinkevitch’s hair and buccal swabs for evidence by Maricopa Police Department Detective Michael Dennison.
Buccal swabs collect DNA from the inside of a person’s cheek or mouth.
“Defendants hair and buccal swabs are needed in order for the Federal Bureau of Investigations to conduct a comparison examination,” the motion stated.
Hair samples will also be forwarded to the Department of Public Safety for comparison examination as well, according to another court document.
Agerter was reportedly attempting to gain parental rights to the child who was 1-month-old at the time of the murder.
Sinkevitch will be in court for a review hearing Aug. 28 at 9 a.m.