A Camp Hill resident claiming self-defense for the fatal shooting of Auburn University football athlete Jakell Mitchell more than three years ago is scheduled for retrial later this month, but is now facing two additional charges in the case.
Markale Hart was indicted by a grand jury in January for manslaughter and persons forbidden to carry a firearm, in addition to Hart's existing murder charge, according to Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes. He is scheduled for retrial on Feb. 26.
Hart appeared in court in early December for trial on one count of murder. But after four days of deliberation, the trial concluded in mistrial because of the jury’s inability to make progress.
Hart is scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 9 at the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika, Hughes said.
The defendant’s attorney, Jerry Blevins, believes Judge Christopher Hughes may address the new indictments during the hearing next week.
“It’s really an underhanded ploy by the state to try to make a case where there is no case,” Blevins said. “…In fact, we’re expecting one of those charges to most likely be dismissed and the other [is] sort of irrelevant. So we’re not troubled by the indictment.”
Filing to withdraw as attorney
In mid-January, Blevins filed a motion to withdraw as Hart’s attorney because an “irreconcilable conflict” arose between Blevins and Hart, which prevented Blevins from continuing his representation for the defendant, according to court records, and a new attorney was appointed.
“But that issue has been resolved and I will be his attorney through the trial of the case in February,” Blevins said.
On Monday, Blevins filed notice to resume as Hart’s attorney but with “limited appearance,” according to court records.
“That just means I’m representing him through the conclusion of the trial [and that] if there is any appeal, I’ve not been retained to deal with appellate issues right now,” Blevins said. “I’m only representing him through the trial.”
The attorney appointed to Hart after Blevins withdrew will no longer represent Hart now that Blevins has returned to represent the defendant, Blevins said.