HANSEN — An Eden man set to stand trial later this month on charges that he killed his longtime girlfriend while driving drunk last Memorial Day fired his attorney Monday, saying he was happy with Steven McRae’s counsel but wanted to seek a second opinion.
Jody Dee Neaderhiser, 52, is charged with felony counts of vehicular manslaughter and aggravated driving under the influence for running a stop sign and causing a crash last May 30 that killed his longtime girlfriend, 51-year-old Evette Phillips, and injured Trell Down, the passenger in another vehicle.
Prosecutors say his blood alcohol level at the time was 0.259, more than three times the legal limit to drive in Idaho. Neaderhiser’s trial was scheduled to begin May 23 but has been postponed until Nov. 14.
“I’m satisfied with Mr. McRae as an attorney, your honor,” Neaderhiser told District Judge Randy Stoker on Monday during a pretrial conference. “I just feel I owe it to the deceased to try another avenue. There are children at play here, and they need me in their lives.”
Both Neaderhiser and Twin Falls County Deputy Prosecutor Jethelyn Harrington referenced a plea agreement the two sides have been working on, but Neaderhiser appears to have rejected the deal.
“The state was hoping we’d have this finished up today,” Harrington told Stoker. “Apparently that’s not going to happen, and the state is not pleased.”
Harrington, obviously frustrated by Neaderhiser’s decision, said prosecutors believe McRae is “an excellent defense attorney,” implying there is no need for him to seek a second opinion.
Neaderhiser said he received the state’s plea offer Monday morning — Stoker cut him off before he could describe the details of that offer — but still wished to fire McRae and “try another avenue.”
Neaderhiser has been in custody since his arrest on July 26 and will remain in custody until his November trial unless he posts $100,000 bond.