Romero convicted on weapons charge; lawyer change denied
Arrested in connection with burglaries of Habitat, Historical Society, music store
CAMP VERDE - A man who has been in county jail since last summer, in connection with some well-publicized burglaries in the west end of the Verde Valley, was recently convicted in a jury trial on one of his sets of charges.
Benjamin P. Romero, 41, was convicted by a Yavapai County Superior Court jury Jan. 9 on one count of possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited possessor and one count of manufacturing, controlling, selling or transporting a prohibited deadly weapon.
A second count of possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited possessor was dismissed by the court.
Romero is next due to stand trial in the courtroom of Pro Tem Judge Chris Kottke on Feb. 5, 6 and 7 in a burglary case.
Romero’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jillian Bachman-Underhill, filed paperwork requesting a change of counsel, but that request was denied. Court records did not indicate, as of Wednesday evening, which judge denied the change of counsel.
In her motion for the change, Bachman-Underhill said Romero was “unable to communicate amicably/civilly with current counsel, and wants new counsel.”
The motion states Romero is threatening a bar complaint against Bachman-Underhill.
“There is no functioning attorney-client relationship,” she wrote in the motion.
A hearing that was set for Jan. 28 has been vacated and will have to be rescheduled.
Romero has been at the Yavapai County Detention Center since July.
He beat one of the sets of charges. Romero was acquitted by a jury Dec. 13 charges of third-degree burglary/unlawful entry, theft-control property and possession of burglary tools.
Another burglary charge was dismissed without prejudice late last month after the jury acquittal in the third-degree burglary case.
Romero still faces yet another burglary charge, in which police allege he broke into a fenced yard in Jerome, belonging to the Jerome Historical Society.
Yet another pending case is on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a license suspended or revoked.
Not all of the court documents delineate which cases apply to which properties or sets of allegedly stolen items.
Romero was arrested July 26 for being found in possession of stolen property, police allege.
His charges stem largely from multiple burglaries that occurred in the Cottonwood area earlier this year.
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