The defense attorney for one of the three men charged with murdering a Highland Park 20-year-old last year was removed from the case just as the man’s trial was to begin, the Highland Park News reports.
Attorney Robert Ritacca was representing Philip Vatamaniuc, who faces murder charges in the shooting death of Colin Nutter. Vatamaniuc, then 17, Benjamin Schenk, then 20, and Michael Coffee, then 17, all face first-degree murder charges after prosecutors say they sat with Nutter in his car then shot him in the back of the head during a marijuana deal. They then drove his body to Wilmette and dumped it by the side of the Edens expressway, prosecutors allege.
The judge removed Ritacca from the case Tuesday at the request of the prosecutors after she decided that it was a conflict of interest for him to be representing a potential witness in the case, the article states. Ritacca said he will appeal the ruling.