The attorney of a man charged in the death of Massachusetts State Police Trooper Thomas Clardy withdrew from the high-profile case Monday after his client said he no longer had confidence in his counsel.
Judge Janet Kenton-Walker granted a motion for attorney Peter Ettenberg to withdraw his representation of David Njuguna, the Webster man accused of killing Clardy in a crash that happened in March 2016.
Attorney Michael Hussey was appointed to represent Njuguna after Ettenberg admitted to a break in his relationship with his client but asked to stay on.
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"I am not assured, in my mind, that he has the faith and confidence in the attorneys to represent him as he believes he should be, Kenton-Walker said.
The motion comes after Njuguna's outburst last week, during which he interrupted closing arguments to apologize to Clardy's widow and openly question his lawyer and the legal process.
"Um, your honor, I do know what has happened, your honor, so there is no need to go any further," Njuguna said in court. "I'm very sorry for what happened. I'm very sorry Mrs. Clardy for what happened, but your honor, he [defense attorney Peter Ettenberg] told me not to say anything. I had trusted him, but I'm sorry for what happened."
Because Njuguna did not testify during the trial, his outburst was the first time the court had heard from him.
"I'm very sorry -- it was an accident," Njuguna continued. "I tried to trust you, and I tried to trust them. I just wanted you to know that I'm very sorry and even with the search warrants and the blood and everything else, like he had evidence that the blood wasn't mine, that search warrants were done improperly, he told me to let it go and I let it go. I've been scared, your honor."
Njuguna, a 33-year-old Webster resident, is accused of driving 80 mph while high on marijuana the day Clardy was killed. His car struck the victim's stopped cruiser from behind on I-90, killing the father of seven.