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Samuel E. Sallee of Columbus, who faces a federal criminal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, has a new attorney and a new trial date next spring in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
Last week, Indianapolis criminal defense attorney Eric K. Koselke took over Sallee’s defense from U.S. District Court public defender Gwendolyn M. Beitz. Sallee had asked the court for new legal representation because of what he called a conflict of interest and lack of experience by his previous attorney.
Koselke, a defense attorney with 28 years of experience and a recent history of representing criminal defendants in high-profile cases, made his initial appearance as Sallee’s defense counsel Friday.
Meanwhile, an Oct. 7 trial date in federal court in Indianapolis for Sallee has been delayed until March 24.
Beitz filed a formal motion to withdraw as Sallee’s counsel last week.
Federal court records show that Koselke was appointed by the court under the Criminal Justice Act, which provides everyone charged with a federal crime access to legal representation even if the defendant is indigent. In many cases, this means an attorney from the Office of the Federal Public Defender handles a case, but private attorneys can be named if they meet certain qualifications.
Koselke has been a
practicing attorney since 1985 and has worked both as a private attorney and as a public defender in Marion County courts. In 2008, he sought the job as director of the public defender’s office in Marion County but lost out to another candidate. Koselke did not reply to an email or return a phone call to discuss Sallee’s case.
Three years ago, Koselke represented Kenneth Allen in Marion County Superior Court after Allen was accused of killing his mother and grandparents and burying their bodies in a basement. Allen was sentenced to life in prison, plus 130 years, after a plea agreement.
The 55-year-old Sallee has been named by Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett as the prime and only suspect in a quadruple homicide investigation tied to the May 11 shooting deaths of four people found in a rural home in Waynesville.
Law enforcement officials said Sallee was seen at the home earlier that afternoon by the son of one of the victims.
Sallee has not been charged in those killings, but the federal gun-possession charge grew out of a search of his home in Columbus within 72 hours of the bodies being found. Police said they found a .22-caliber rifle and several pieces of jewelry stashed in the rafters of a garage at the home where Sallee was living at the time with a friend, according to an affidavit filed in the federal court record from John D. O’Boyle, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Due to several felony convictions, including charges of intimidation and driving under the influence, Sallee wasn’t legally permitted to have a firearm, federal prosecutors say. Sallee faces up to a 10-year sentence if convicted of the federal gun charge.
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