Even His Lawyer Should Not Have To Put Up With Him, Says Judge About Homicide Defendant

53-year-old Bentley Collins is soon to go on trial for the involuntary manslaughter of 10-year-old Matthew Davis of Dillon, South Carolina. The boy died Nov. 3, 2006, after six dogs attacked him outside Collins’ rural home. 

This week, the defendant’s attorney obtained the court’s permission to withdraw from the case. He said that Collins was profane with the lawyer’s staff, missed meetings, contradicted himself when telling his side of the story, and gave an interview on TV that will prejudice him at trial. (To see it, click here.) The judge agreed, saying even Collin’s lawyer should not have to put up with this type of behavior. (For the article about the attorney’s statements in court, click here.)

I found it interesting that his lawyer was upset by the interview. When you view it, you will hear nothing but favorable statements from Collins. This means that what he said on TV was not what the rest of the testimony will be at trial. I will tell you from experience (and I emphasize this in my seminar for lawyers) there are two kinds of dog owner defendants: those who feel genuinely sorry for what happened and even want to help the victim and the victim’s family, and those who will make up anything to protect themselves and their dog.

The most famous examples of the latter group of dog owner defendants are Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, the couple who owned the dogs that killed Diane Whipple in 2001. The jury completely disbelieved Knoller, who was the only defendant to testify at trial, because they concluded that she lied about everything. For that, they convicted her of second degree murder. Like Collins’ lawyer told the court, Collins needs to stop talking. The court agreed, and issued a gag order for the man’s own protection.