James Mallory in court

James Mallory appears in Jefferson Circuit Court.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A lawyer for a man charged with killing 15-year-old Gregory Holt in 2012 claims an attorney with the Louisville Public Defender’s office committed a felony by hiding key evidence in the death penalty case.

The attorney for James Mallory said in a recently filed motion that public defender Angela Elleman “concealed” bullet casings linked to the shooting at the request of her client, Anthony Hogan, a co-defendant in the murder case.

In the motion, filed late last month, Lexington attorney Gregory Coulson asked Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson to investigate whether Elleman and any other employees with the public defender’s office have committed a crime, specifically felony tampering with physical evidence.

That investigation should include a review of Elleman’s communications with her client and prosecutors as well as an inspection of the defense’s case file to “determine that the services of (the defense team) have been used in furtherance of a crime or fraud upon the court,” according to Coulson’s motion.

Mallory’s trial was delayed earlier this year after the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office found out Elleman and an investigator working with the public defender’s office had for six years been in possession of the casings without disclosing them.

In hearings about the issue, Gibson has repeatedly asked whether concealing the shell casings amounted to tampering with physical evidence. No charges have been filed. 

But the head of the public defender’s office, Dan Goyette, has defended the actions in a previous statement to WDRB News:

“After a careful review of the rather complex legal and evidentiary situation that arose in this case, it’s clear that the actions of Mr. Hogan’s attorneys were directed in the best interests of their client and were consistent with their professional obligations."

Elleman did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.

In the recent motion, Coulson, who recently took over representing Mallory, acknowledged that requesting an investigation by the judge of the public defender’s office is unusual, but argued that the “conduct is clearly felonious.”

Elleman and an investigator dug up the shell casings buried in a tree stump outside a bar in Louisville just months after the April 11, 2012, murder.

The casings were put in a safe at the public defender’s office for years until prosecutors learned of them in February when talking with Hogan about his agreement to testify against Mallory days before Mallory’s trial was to begin.

Hogan claims he saw Mallory bury the shell casings after Holt was shot to death in his mother’s apartment near Dixie Highway and East Rockford Lane.

Coulson said that Elleman – identified only as A.E. in the motion – posted a picture on social media in 2013 showing her in the tree stump with the evidence.

“The conduct of attorney A.E. in conspiracy with Mr. Hogan has crossed over from zealous advocacy within the bounds of ethical and legal constraints to criminal conduct,” Coulson wrote.

Coulson has also requested that Elleman’s communications with police, prosecutors, jail officials or other law enforcement agencies be turned over to the defense.

The case is scheduled to be heard in court on Dec. 19. 

Holt was a student at Farnsley Middle School. Prosecutors have said Holt’s mother, Kendra Wilson, participated in a robbery and attempted execution of Mallory hours earlier, and that Mallory shot the teen while trying to retaliate against Wilson.

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.