Evelyn Boswell. (Photo: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
With her trial looming, a Sullivan County teenaged mom accused of stuffing her 15-month-old daughter inside a trash can where she smothered to death has fired her court-appointed attorney.
Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge James Goodwin on Friday allowed Megan Boswell’s current attorney to withdraw from her case and appointed a new attorney. The move will delay her Feb. 6, 2023, trial.
Boswell sought to fire attorney Brad Sproles at a hearing last month, complaining he was refusing to summon witnesses she believed would help her case. Sproles countered that most of the witnesses she cited would not, in fact, be helpful to her defense, but he stopped short of saying the relationship between him and Boswell was “irretrievably broken” — the legal standard required for a judge to allow a defendant to part ways with an attorney.
But Sproles told Goodwin on Friday that his relationship with Boswell has continued to deteriorate since last month’s hearing.
“We have spoken several times since that hearing,” Sproles said.
Goodwin responded, “Do you feel the attorney-client relationship is irretrievably broken and beyond repair?”
“Yes,” Sproles responded.
“I think I have no choice but to allow you to withdraw as counsel,” the judge said.
Goodwin appointed Jonesborough attorney Gene Scott Jr. to replace Sproles. The judge and Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus acknowledged the change in legal counsel would delay Boswell’s upcoming trial. Goodwin set a Dec. 14 status hearing at which a new trial date likely will be set.
Boswell was 17 when she gave birth to a daughter, Evelyn Boswell, in 2019. In early February 2020, Evelyn’s paternal grandfather reported the toddler missing, saying the child had not been seen in more than two months.
Boswell, authorities say, repeatedly lied to law enforcers about the toddler’s whereabouts in the weeks that followed. She ultimately told investigators Evelyn was dead, claiming either she or her boyfriend rolled over on the child while they were sleeping. But she refused to say where the child’s body was located.
On March 6, 2020, Evelyn’s paternal grandfather summoned authorities to search a playhouse he’d built for Boswell that had been stored in a shed at his Muddy Creek Road home. Law enforcers discovered Evelyn’s body inside a trash can in the playhouse.
Knox County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan testified last month that Evelyn was alive when she was stuffed upside down in the trash can. A fleece blanket had been tightly wrapped around head and body. Mileusnic-Polchan, an expert in investigating child abuse deaths, said the child suffocated to death inside the trash can.
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