The public defender appointed to a Richmond resident’s case has withdrawn. Ray County Judge James Thompson made the announcement during a hearing on Tuesday morning. He said Melinda Troeger asked to be removed from the case and would no longer represent Lauren Gabbard, 23.
Gabbard is one of three suspects charged in connection to the death of Michelle Rheuport, 40. Rheuport was found dead in her home in late May.
With a new attorney by her side, Gabbard waived her right to a preliminary hearing. She will next appear in court on July 11. James Gant, 25, also stepped foot in a Ray County courtroom on Tuesday. His case was continued to July 2. Brandon Simpson, 25, was arraigned last week during an unpublicized appearance. He is due back in court on July 17. The three suspects are each charged with murder, burglary, and stealing. Bond was set at $1 million each.