'Doghouse robber' gets new lawyer

MINDEN - Lawyer Tod Young withdrew as counsel Monday for convicted bank robber Steven Simmons after he said his client refused to communicate with him.

"Communication with Mr. Simmons has been very difficult from the beginning; now it's impossible," Young told District Judge Michael Gibbons.

Simmons, convicted of armed robbery on Jan. 25, sent a letter to Gibbons saying he wanted to fire Young over a "dirty trick" during closing arguments.

Simmons said he was upset that Young implicated his friend Sean Johnson in the Nov. 22, 2005, armed robbery of the Minden Bank of America branch.

Johnson was not charged in connection with the robbery.

Simmons, 27, was found guilty of taking $4,805 from tellers at gunpoint. He was arrested 30 minutes later hiding in a doghouse less than a mile from the bank.

The money and weapon were recovered, and Simmons was linked to the evidence through DNA.

He was convicted after a three-day trial, and faces up to 30 years in prison at his sentencing March 12.

"I don't wish to deal with (Young) anymore," Simmons said.

Gibbons said he felt Simmons would be at a disadvantage at sentencing with a new lawyer, but appointed Minden lawyer Jennifer Yturbide to take over the case.

Yturbide will be Simmons' third lawyer. Terri Roeser handled the case until her retirement last year.

The county's other contracted court-appointed lawyer, Derrick Lopez, originally prosecuted Simmons for the offense when Lopez was a deputy district attorney.

Young said he thought it was in Simmons' best interest that he withdraw as counsel.


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