Withdrawal of Wiley’s attorney in first-degree murder case could lead to change in prosecution as well

Travis Wiley

Travis Wiley | Photo courtesy of Adams County Jail

QUINCY — The decision of a local attorney to take a new job has led to the jury trial of a Quincy man charged with first-degree murder to be removed from the July docket.

Travis Wiley, 34, appeared Wednesday morning in Adams County Circuit Court. He was set to go to trial July 18 on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery in the Jan. 22, 2018, death of an infant girl. He is accused of shaking the infant on Jan. 20, 2018. She died two days later at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. 

Ryan Parker, an attorney with the local firm Hauk & Owens, had represented Wiley since Aug. 1, 2018 — a little more than a month after Wiley was arrested on June 20, 2018. However, Parker recently accepted a job as an assistant state’s attorney in Adams County. His first day on the job was June 21.

Parker filed a motion to withdraw as Wiley’s counsel on June 13. Judge Michael Atterberry granted the motion Wednesday.

“I believe that it is abundantly clear, from just the facts I’ve stated, that (Parker) does have conflict in his continued representation of Mr. Wiley,” Atterberry said.

Atterberry asked if Wiley wanted to hire alternative private counsel.

“I would, but one of the issues that I’m facing right now is the availability of funds,” Wiley replied. “That would be an undue burden financially to me and my family. I would like to continue looking for private counsel, but at the same time, I don’t want to be without a lawyer.”

Wiley also asked for the retainer originally paid to Haul & Owens for Parker’s work be “transferred to another law firm” because “the job’s not done.”

Atterberry told Wiley to “begin your thought process” and make inquiries about substitute counsel. Wiley said his family have contacted other lawyers. 

Jeffrey O’Brien, an attorney with Hauk & Owens, was with Wiley during Wednesday’s hearing. He said he has not talked with Wiley about possibly representing him.

“If there’s an appropriate vehicle for this court to get involved, I will,” Atterberry said. “But this is an issue that I have determined this court needs to stay out at this time, at least for now.”

Atterberry also questioned the status of the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office and its continued participation in the case.

Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha said his office would construct a “Chinese wall,” a legal term referring to an information barrier protocol within an organization. It is designed to prevent the exchange of information or communication that could lead to conflicts of interest. 

“It would be imperative that we do not get any type of information, nor look at any type of file, that (Parker) may have,” Farha said. 

Farha also said a case of this magnitude also might necessitate the call for a special prosecutor from the Fourth District appellate prosecutor’s office in Springfield.

“We pay (that office) about $28,000 a year, and they do our appeals,” Farha said. “They also give advice and furnish continuing legal education classes for us. They also provide services for a special prosecutor, and that will be who we would go to if (hiring a special prosecutor) were the case.”

Wiley also faces one count of aggravated battery in connection with a March 23 incident in the Adams County Jail. 

Wiley is set to return to court July 6 for a status hearing. He continues to be held in the Adams County Jail on $5 million bond.

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