A connection between Monday’s violent predawn home-invasion robbery in Petaluma and a similar deadly confrontation last month in Santa Rosa emerged in court Wednesday when a deputy public defender told the judge her office was not available for appointment because of an undisclosed conflict.
Both incidents involved suspects from the East Coast, and the Public Defender’s Office already has been appointed in the February home-invasion that left a southwest Santa Rosa man dead and another wounded. Under the law, attorneys and firms cannot represent more than one defendant in any related case.
“Per Ms. Pozzi’s instructions, we have a conflict,” Melissa Coughlin told Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite, referring to orders from her boss, Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi.
Pozzi would not discuss the nature of the conflict, explaining only that she could not compromise the defense of any client over another. Brian Staebell, a spokesman for District Attorney Jill Ravitch, also would not discuss a possible connection.
But attorneys familiar with the details said they were related. Four of the suspects arrested this week were from Richmond, Virginia as are two suspects in