Lawyers for Mother of Autistic Girl Want Off Case

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) -- Lawyers representing a northern Michigan woman accused of trying to kill her autistic daughter asked to withdraw from the case.

But the Traverse City Record-Eagle says (http://bit.ly/XRJs0Q ) a judge denied the request on Tuesday.

Kelli Stapleton is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 3 in Benzie County Circuit Court.

Authorities say the 46-year-old Elberta woman tried to kill herself and her teenage daughter last year by igniting two charcoal grills inside a van.

Defense lawyers Heidi Hodek and Brian Johnson cited a "complete breakdown" in their relationship with Stapleton. They sought to withdraw as her attorneys, but Judge James Batzer wouldn't allow it.

Stapleton's blog had chronicled the challenges her family faced caring for her daughter, who has severe autism and sometimes had violent outbursts.


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