Defense attorneys Mark Bryant and Emily Roark filed a motion Thursday to withdraw as counsel in the murder case against Keith Griffith - a Reidland man accused of killing his wife and burning their home with her and their dogs inside.

Griffith is facing charges of murder, first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence and first-degree animal cruelty after the jury in the first trial failed to reach a verdict on Feb. 18.

In the motion, the attorneys said they could no longer focus all their attention on retrying Griffith's case and that they have other clients who need their help.

"We've been on the (Griffith) case for about 14, 15 months and for the past few months it's consumed four or five members of our firm, and we just can't continue to do that for another year," Roark said.

The motion also said the attorneys will make available all their case materials from the first trial to whoever takes over as Griffith's lawyer.

As for Griffith, Roark said either a public defender will be appointed to his case or he will hire a new attorney.

"I have already asked that his case be evaluated to see if he qualifies for a public defender, which he will," Roark said. "And there is a section of the Public Defender's Office that handles nothing but death penalty cases."

Roark said in no way does their decision to withdraw relate to the jury's inability to render a decision at trial last month.

"We saw that as the commonwealth's inability to meet their burden," she said. "And that has nothing to do with why we made the motion to withdraw."

With another trial looming, Commonwealth Attorney Dan Boaz and Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Raymond McGee have been preparing to retry the case.

The defense's motion to withdraw, Boaz said, makes no difference in the case against Griffith.

"We're going to retry the case with whomever represents him," he said.

The motion to withdraw will be presented to Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach at 10:30 a.m. Friday in McCracken Circuit Court.

A preliminary hearing for Griffith's retrial is scheduled for March 12.

Contact Kat Russell, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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