Michael Registe, accused in connection with the July 20, 2007, double homicide of two Hardaway High School graduates, has hired a new attorney.
Manubir S. Arora, of the Atlanta firm Arora & Lascala, LLC, officially became Registe’s attorney on Monday, Muscogee County court records state.
Arora has appeared in Columbus courts before, helping represent Ekrem Jakupovic during a hearing in which he sought a new trial.
Jakupovic was convicted in April 2006 of murdering Alfredo Sanchez during an altercation at a Columbus Park Crossing construction site in 2004.
Registe, 27, was represented by Columbus attorney Stacey Jackson until July 12, when the Georgia Supreme Court upheld a local judge’s decision to remove Jackson from the case.
Registe is accused of the execution-style slayings of Randy Newton Jr., 21, and Bryan Kilgore, 20. Authorities say Registe fled the country after their deaths, and he had been listed as one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted. He was captured on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten on Aug. 27, 2008.
Registe was returned to Columbus on July 23, 2009, and Jackson appeared as Registe’s defense counsel Aug. 4. A special prosecutor said Jackson had a conflict of interest, having served as an assistant district attorney from August 2000 through July 2008, after which he went into private practice with the Columbus firm of Hagler, Henderson, Jackson & Walters.
Superior Court Judge Doug Pullen ruled that Jackson would be removed from the case, and Registe appealed the ruling in October.
The high court agreed with Pullen and Justice David Nahmias writes that “disqualification was clearly appropriate based on the ethical rules that prohibit an attorney from participating on both sides of the same case.”
At the time, Jackson said he was disappointed in the decision, though he respected the high court’s ruling. He said he planned on meeting with Registe and his family about Registe getting a new private attorney.