Facing attempted murder charge, Virginia man without an attorney for second time

Jan. 20—A Virginia man charged with attempted first-degree murder was left with no legal representation on Friday after he and his attorney agreed to part ways.

“This relationship is beyond repair,” Mauricio Barreiro, the attorney, said during a hearing Friday.

David Clayton Hanson, 32, of Madison Heights, Virginia, will have to find another attorney in time for his next hearing on Feb. 21 and trial in March, Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Theresa Adams said. Otherwise, Hanson will be representing himself, she said.

According to charging documents, Hanson allegedly held a gun to a woman’s head in downtown Frederick and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire.

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Hanson is charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and several firearms charges, according to online court records.

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Hanson had a motion to fire Barreiro, who also filed his own motion to withdraw, or remove himself, from Hanson’s case.

Hanson said Barreiro was not representing his intentions well, and Barreiro often told him he was too busy when he needed something.

However, Barreiro said he negotiated the plea deal Hanson originally wanted, then later rejected. Barreiro said Hanson told him to stop working his case since Hanson was looking into getting a new attorney.

“Between he and I, there’s an abyss,” Barreiro said. “We don’t see eye to eye on just about anything on this case.”

Adams was concerned about Hanson’s motion to fire Barreiro, Hanson’s second attorney on the case. Hanson fired his first attorney, Adams said.

She worried that the public defender’s office wouldn’t assign him another attorney if he fired Barreiro, since he would have fired two attorneys.

Hanson said he was informed that if he fired Barreiro, he would get a third attorney, and possibly a team of attorneys.

Jennifer Dayton, a public defender, who was in the courtroom during the hearing, addressed the court. She said Hanson was misinformed.

“There was never an indication that a team of attorneys would be assigned to this case,” Dayton said.

With that, Hanson asked Adams if he could withdraw his motion to fire Barreiro. Adams allowed Hanson to remove his motion to fire Barreiro. But she granted Barreiro’s motion to withdraw.

In November 2021, charging documents say, a man, later identified as Hanson, approached a woman in a parking lot who was having a conversation with another man. The woman had a protective order against Hanson out of Lynchburg, Virginia.

The man, who was an acquaintance of the woman, allegedly saw Hanson creep around the car, point the gun at the woman’s head and squeeze the trigger, charging documents said. However, the gun didn’t fire and Hanson racked the slide of the gun.

The acquaintance approached Hanson, charging documents said, told the woman to run and yelled that Hanson had a gun. Hanson allegedly pointed the gun at the acquaintance, but didn’t shoot. Instead, he fled and the man chased him.

During the chase, Hanson discarded the gun and other objects, charging documents said.

Follow Clara Niel on Twitter: @clarasniel

Follow Clara Niel on Twitter: @clarasniel

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