Special Reports

Manwill murder trial still on track

Daniel Ehrlick Jr. told a judge Thursday he had wanted to fire his attorneys because the case was taking too long, that they failed to challenge the grand jury indictment that charged him with first-degree murder and that they keep asking him if he killed 8-year-old Robert Manwill.

But the Boise man said he changed his mind after talking to public defenders Amyl Myshin and Gus Cahill and now has "a clearer picture of what is going on ... of how things are going."

Fourth District Judge Darla Williamson closed Ehrlick's motion hearing to the public, prosecutors and media to protect Ehrlick's rights to a fair trial and attorney-client privilege, but she released a redacted transcript to the Statesman later Thursday.

Ehrlick and his ex-girlfriend, Melissa Jenkins, are both charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Jenkins' son. Thursday was Ehrlick's first chance to explain why he filed the surprise motion to fire his attorneys, and it offered some insight into a case that has been kept unusually secret since the much-publicized search for Manwill last summer.

Ehrlick said he was frustrated that his attorneys waived his right to a speedy trial after reading through the discovery provided by the prosecution and not seeing enough evidence that implicated him for the murder. "It's BS, you know ... Everything (prosecutors) are trying to put on me, there is nothing," Ehrlick said.

Myshin, who has previously said the evidence against Ehrlick was "thin," expressed a similar concern, saying for all the thousands of documents he has gone over, the main reason Ehrlick is charged "is because of Melissa Jenkins' statements."

Ehrlick said he was upset his attorney's did not challenge a grand jury findings that there was probable cause to charge him with murder.

"From everything I read in the grand jury (testimony), it's all hearsay," Ehrlick said.

Myshin's explanation to Williamson on why they haven't challenged the indictment is one of the sections which has been redacted from the transcript. Williamson also explained to Ehrlick why his attorneys may be so intent on asking him whether he committed the crime.

"Wouldn't that be important (to your attorneys) to make a determination whether or not you should take the stand and testify, so that they would know whether or not your testimony would be consistent?" she asked. "So if they put you on the stand, it would be in your best interest because they will know how you're going to answer those questions? Isn't that an important thing to do?" Ehrlick said he now agreed.

With this motion out of the way, the case can continue to move to trial, which Williamson plans for this fall. Ehrlick and Jenkins will be tried separately, with Ehrlick scheduled to go first in October.

Patrick Orr: 373-6619