Man accused of gunning down his children's mother and friend tries to fire attorney, gets bond

The man accused of gunning down the mother of his two children and her friend the day before she was to move from Columbus to Kansas to escape his abuse tried to fire his attorney today during a bond hearing.

Charged with multiple felonies in the October 2009 deaths of Tyesha McNair and Terence Clark, both 21, James Louis Brock told Muscogee Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan he was dismissing his attorney, Shevon Sutcliffe Thomas.

"His services are no longer needed," said Brock, adding that he would file his own court motions from now on.

Jordan refused to consider that, saying the matter before his court today was a bond hearing for Brock, not an issue of his attorney's status.

Brock's announcement followed Thomas' arguing that police last November used "trickery" in arresting Brock for failing to register as a sex offender after being convicted in 2005 of statutory rape in Richmond County, Ga. Thomas said Brock under the law was not required to register, so authorities detained him on a false pretense.

Thomas said the two murder counts against Brock were not filed until his defense moved to dismiss the charge of failing to register. He added that Brock now has been in jail for about a year, and his case still has not been presented to a grand jury for indictment. If the case does not move in 30 days, he will file to have the charges dismissed, he said.

He sought a bond so that Brock could be released pending the outcome of his case. Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore cited the brutality of the crime, saying McNair was on a couch in a fetal position when Brock shot her in the head, and then shot her friend Terence Clark in the chest at a 5224 Crystal Court apartment. Brock had a history of abusing McNair, with the woman filing two police reports in 2008 and another in 2009, Moore said.

The day she was killed, McNair was getting ready to move back to Topeka, Kan., to live with her mother to get away from Brock, Moore said.

She said that if released from jail, Brock likely would flee to California, where he has family, and try to intimidate witnesses who could testify to how he abused McNair. She said he already was writing letters to McNair's mother, claiming someone else killed her daughter. McNair's relatives said the mother now cares for McNair's children, ages 3 and 1.

Jordan set Brock's bonds at $750,000 on each murder charge and $10,000 each on two counts of using a firearm to commit a crime and being a convicted felon with a firearm.