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Man accused of killing popular Seacoast drummer gets new lawyers

Union Leader Correspondent

September 15. 2016 4:07PM
Eric Langlais is accused of hitting James Unfonak in the jaw so hard he fell to the ground, hit his head, and later died. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Correspondent)

DOVER - The man accused of killing a popular Seacoast drummer in the parking lot of a sports bar in Rochester is getting new court appointed attorneys.

Eric Langlais, 41, of Barnstead, is facing charges of manslaughter and felony riot after he punched James Unfonak of the band Bang N Jane in the jaw Jan. 31 outside Gary's Sports Bar. Unfonak, 44, of Rochester fell to the ground and struck his head. He later died at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

In paperwork filed at Strafford County Superior Court, Langlais claims public defenders Cynthia Robinson and Heather Ward have taken actions on his behalf without approval, are not diligent, lack competence and may be politically influenced by outside sources given the nature and profile of his case.

Judge Steven Houran granted the request by Langlais Wednesday after a status conference. Houran said since Langlais has lost confidence in his ability to communicate effectively with his attorneys, it is appropriate to assign him new counsel, even though Robinson and Ward are still ready, willing and able to represent him.

In June, prosecutor Timothy Sullivan reported Langlais was asking for a 30-day extension to consider a plea deal presented by the state. On June 15, Langlais waived his right to a speedy trial.

A jury trial is now being scheduled for January.

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