Elliott says he can’t pay lawyers for retrial

Capital murder defendant Larry Bill Elliott said his finances have him “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” He wants his attorneys to represent him when he’s tried again in the murder of a Woodbridge couple but he cannot afford their $115,000 fee.

Elliott, 53, testified at a hearing Friday in which his lawyers, William Moffitt and Henry Asbill, asked to be withdrawn from the upcoming case.

In August, a jury found Elliott guilty of killing Robert Finch, 30, and Dana Thrall, 25, but Prince William Circuit Court Judge William D. Hamblen declared a mistrial after allegations surfaced that a juror was improperly discussing the case in public.

Elliott’s retrial has not been scheduled, pending determination of his defense counsel. He owes his attorneys about $40,000 and Elliott said he did not have the money to retain them.

Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert argued that Elliott’s assets — equity in his house in Hanover, Md., and beer-brewing equipment valued at $350,000 that he used in a brewing venture in West Virginia — are adequate to pay for counsel.

But Asbill said the brewing equipment has been for sale for more than a year with no takers in sight, and doubted it would ever sell for the assessed value.

Hamblen instructed Elliott to fill out a form detailing his finances to determine if he will be considered indigent by the court and said he will make a ruling on Asbill and Moffitt’s motion to withdraw on Friday.

Elliott’s first trial lasted nine days. The jury deliberated for three days before finding him guilty and recommending the death penalty for the murders.

Finch and Thrall were each shot multiple times in their Rollingwood Village town house on Jan. 2, 2001. Elliott did not know either of the victims but was deeply involved with Finch’s ex-girlfriend, an adult escort Elliott met over the Internet.

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