BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Sullivan County woman accused of killing her daughter in 2019 was appointed new legal counsel on Friday.
Megan Boswell’s public-appointed defense attorney, Brad Sproles, filed a motion on Wednesday, Oct. 19, to withdraw from the case, claiming that the attorney-client relationship has “deteriorated to the point that counsel is unable to effectively and zealously represent the Defendant in this matter,” court records show.
Defense attorney Gene Scott will represent Boswell moving forward. The case’s new legal counsel has over 20 years of experience representing criminal defendants and will spend the upcoming months familiarizing himself with the case that made national headlines.
“I know every time this lady’s in court, she’s been on television,” Scott said. “There’s been a lot of talk about her. There’s not been a lot of talk about her side of the story, but we intend to bring that out so there’s no rush to judgment in this case and so that she gets a fair trial.”
The new appointment in the case will likely stall Boswell’s February 2023 trial as Scott and his team study the case and its developments over the past couple of years.
“I think it does make it harder for anyone when you come in second because you don’t know everything that’s been done in the case up to that point, and even then, going back and looking at court transcripts and talking to lawyers is difficult if you don’t have a personal, hands-on feel for what really happened,” Scott said.
Boswell will appear in court for a status hearing on Dec. 14. The short time between Friday’s hearing and then is likely not enough to ensure the new legal team is prepared for a February trial.
“To say that we’ll be ready to do anything by Dec. 14 — I don’t think that’s realistic,” Scott said. “It’ll take months to get caught up.”
Boswell’s previous defense attorney emphasized that the complexity of the case and years of developments will make for a lengthy transition. Sproles also stated in his motion that he planned to remain on the case in a pro bono status to assist the new counsel.
“The issue here is just the volume of information; I’ve talked to him a little bit about where that stands and what I can do to help him get up to speed with all that, and I’m happy to do that; I think I put that in the motion,” Sproles said. “It just wouldn’t be fair for Ms. Boswell — for all the work that I’ve done — just to be useless, so Mr. Scott and I will work well enough together to be able to help him download a lot of the work that I’ve done.”
In September, the judge denied Boswell’s request to part ways with Sproles. Her original legal counsel’s decision to make the same request stemmed from the pair’s reported inability to find a common ground.
“If a defendant — especially in a serious case like this — a criminal defendant — doesn’t have an effective attorney, the system doesn’t work,” Sproles said. “I’ve always felt that the rules of professional responsibility require that when an attorney gets to the point that they can’t be effective, it’s our responsibility to bring that to the court’s attention.”
Boswell faces over a dozen charges, including two counts of felony murder, after authorities found the body of her 15-month-old daughter, Evelyn Boswell, on a family member’s property. A medical examiner in September testified that foil had been obstructing Evelyn’s airway, and a blanket had been tightly wrapped around her head. The toddler reportedly died of asphyxiation.