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Durcho case: Attorneys' exit may delay trial in El Reno killings

The El Reno, OK, trial for Joshua Steven Durcho, accused of strangling his former girlfriend and her four children, is likely to be delayed after defense attorneys withdrew from the case.
BY MICHAEL BAKER Modified: October 8, 2010 at 10:54 am •  Published: August 13, 2010

The entire Oklahoma Indigent Defense Capital Division in Norman has declared the conflict.

No indication of who would be Durcho's next attorney was given, although the public defender system does have a capital division in the Tulsa area and also contracts with private attorneys qualified to handle death penalty cases.

Judge Miller said the conflict arose after the state filed an amended bill of particulars.

The original bill of particulars stated several reasons why prosecutors think the death penalty is warranted.

The amended bill of particulars was filed under seal on July 9.

The court document was filed after Durcho and Pendleton allegedly tried to escape on June 24. A day earlier, Miller denied defense attorneys' request to move the trial to another location because of pretrial publicity.

Pendleton was trying to remove mortar from a wall so he could get into Durcho's adjacent cell, Edwards said.

Durcho was doing the same in another wall that adjoins an exterior exercise area.

The wall is steel reinforced, and the exercise area was surrounded by a tall security fence.

"It wasn't anything of any threat to security or anything where they were even close to getting out," Edwards said.

"They weren't going anywhere if they had removed the mortar."

At the time of the escape attempt, Oklahoma Indigent Defense System attorneys from the capital division also represented Pendleton, according to court records.

Pendleton is charged in connection with the stabbing death of an 18-year-old in El Reno on March 28. has disabled the comments for this article.