ELIZABETHTON — Travis Grover Richardson, charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault and several other charges stemming from a police pursuit covering three counties, was supposed to have his preliminary hearing in Sessions Court on Tuesday, but the case was continued to Nov. 2 after Richardson fired his public defender in court on Tuesday.
Both sides were prepared to hold the preliminary hearing Tuesday but as soon as Richardson, 29, 1180 Dry Creek Road, entered the courtroom in shackles and a Carter County Jail uniform he began telling Judge John Walton there was a conflict of interest and he did not want Assistant Public Defender R.O. Smith to represent him in the preliminary hearing.
Richardson told the judge he would rather defend himself in the case, but Assistant District Attorney General Mark Hill reminded Richardson of the seriousness of the charges, including attempted murder. “That is why you need an attorney,” Hill said.
Richardson said Smith did not “show some kind of interest in trying to help me.”
After hearing Richardson’s objections to the court-appointed attorney, Walton told Smith he was relieved from the defense. After the hearing in his chambers Walton said many times a client is unaware of the work an attorney was doing on his or her behalf.
Walton said he would appoint a private attorney, Misty Buck, to take Richardson’s case. Walton said Buck often helps the public defenders by taking cases.
Richardson told Walton he was prepared to plead guilty on the charges where knew he was guilty. Richardson said he was not guilty on the criminal simulation charges involving counterfeit currency and on the attempted murder charges.
Richardson said he has already served 12 years in prison “for something I was not guilty of” and did not want that to happen to him again.
Walton continued several of the charges against Richardson to Nov. 2. These included a the aggravated assault and attempted second-degree murder charges, a hit and run charge, driving left of center on the highway, two counts of writing worthless checks.
Walton bound Richardson to a Carter County grand jury on aggravated assault, vandalism, two counts each of evading arrest and reckless endangerment and 10 counts of criminal simulation. He is scheduled to answer the charges in Criminal Court on Nov. 22.
The attempted second-degree murder charges and aggravated assault charges stem from an Aug. 2 police pursuit that began on State Line Road in Elizabethton and ended on South Roan Street in Johnson City after winding through rural sections of Carter and Unicoi counties.
During the pursuit, Richardson is accused of intentionally ramming three police cruisers driven by Elizabethton Officer Eric Buck, Carter County Lt. Penny Cornett and Unicoi County Sgt. Greg Copp. The incident against Copp occurred in Unicoi County and is not included in the list of charges against Richardson in Carter County.
Richardson is also facing an attempted first-degree murder charge in the 2008 stabbing incident of Daniel Honeycutt on Frontage Road in the Okolona community.