MIAMI (CBS4) – The lead defense attorney for Carmen Barahona, who is accused in the murder of her adopted daughter, and another top death penalty lawyer for Miami-Dade County, was fired just before they were supposed to begin a high-profile murder trial.

Eugene Zenobi, 66, and Kellie Peterson, 34, were unexpectedly fired Tuesday, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. Both were defending Dennis Escobar who is accused in the 1988 murder of Miami police officer Victor Estefan. The trial was scheduled to begin on October 1st.

The lawyers worked for Miami-Dade’s Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel which was created in 2007 to defend clients who can’t afford an attorney.

The newspaper reported that Joseph George, who has headed the office since it began, gave no specific reasons for the firings.  In a curious twist, Zenobi has applied for George’s job.  It is unclear who will replace Peterson in representing Barahona.



(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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