CANTON — The Sept. 17 trial of Timothy A. Bethel, the Raymondville mechanic accused trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend by running their motorcycle off the road while he was driving a customer’s car, was adjourned without date Tuesday after his attorney was granted a request to no longer represent him.
Bethel, 52, of 8648 Route 56, Norfolk, is charged with two counts of second-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault, all felonies.
His now-former attorney, Edward F. Narrow, told St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards Tuesday that he and Bethel were “at odds” over how they should handle the case, with Mr. Narrow telling Bethel he should accept a plea deal that would have him sentenced to prison for 10 years, as opposed to going to trial.
According to court documents, at 3:45 p.m. on Sept. 17 on Marsh Road, Mr. Bethel was driving a white 1997 Buick LeSabre, headed east, when he saw his ex-girlfriend, Amy L. Baxter, heading west on the back of a 2014 Harley Davidson operated by her boyfriend, Ronald C. Brothers.
Then, as she and Mr. Brothers approached Nation Road, she said the two of them were thrown from the motorcycle after it was rear-ended by the white sedan, although it was so sudden that neither rider of the Harley could identify the driver.
Both Mr. Brothers and Ms. Baxter were taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and released.
After Bethel allegedly hit the motorcycle, troopers said he left the scene, but they recovered car parts, including the vehicle’s Buick emblem, from the scene.
Mr. Narrow told the court Tuesday that Bethel wanted him to file a notice of alibi, despite the evidence in the case not supporting it. He said he wouldn’t put his name on the document.
Mr. Narrow said he wanted to use a mental health defense, but Bethel never followed through with a request to sign a release to his medical records so Mr. Narrow could access his neurological medical history.
“It’s not in his best legal interest to got to trial,” Mr. Narrow told County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards. “I told him that if he is convicted he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. I don’t what that for my client.”
The judge said “absolutely” when Mr. Narrow mentioned Bethel would be sentenced to life if convicted, then he turned to Bethel.
“It’s not going to be hanging out there,” Judge Richards said of the plea offer, when Bethel said he wasn’t interested in it “today.”
On Tuesday, Bethel told the court he wanted to risk life in prison if convicted following a trial and that there were things that were overlooked in his case, such as a photo of the motorcycled that showed it may have been tampered with after the alleged crash.
“That has nothing to do with this,” Judge Richards said. “You need to come to grips with reality.”
After relieving Mr. Narrow, Judge Richards told Bethel it was mandatory he appear in court on Sept. 13 with a new attorney.