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Unsatisfied: Colton Fears seeks to take charge of defense in Gainesville shooting

A small county jail cell in north-central Florida may seem like an odd place to mount a defense against an accessory to attempted murder charge.

But, Colton Gene Fears is going to try it.

Fears, one of two people charged with a shooting after racist “alt-right” front man Richard Spencer spoke in Gainesville, Florida, wants to see the evidence and witness statements in his case.

In letters filed with the Alachua County Circuit Court on June 18, Fears says he’s not spoken with his attorney since February, asked for copies of the evidence and witness statements in the case and wants a speedy trial.

“To this day I havnt (sic)been shown any of the evidence being used against my (sic) in my case,” the 29-year-old Fears wrote.

Fears and 29-year-old Tyler Eugene Tenbrink are charged with accessory to attempted murder and attempted murder, respectively, accused of a shooting on October 19. The two are scheduled for trial in September.

Charges against a third man, 30-year-old William Fears IV, were dropped by Florida prosecutors. Instead, William Fears faces allegations in Texas that he choked his girlfriend.

In Florida, a speedy trial must be held within 175 days of the request being granted. Only the attorney of record can request a speedy trial, so the ask by Fears has no weight unless he fires his attorney, Lucas J. Taylor of Live Oak, Florida.

Fears had not made such a request of Tuesday afternoon.

Tenbrink has not made a similar request.

According to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office report, Tenbrink got out of a car with a gun and Colton and his brother, William Fears, started yelling “I’m going to f------ kill you,” “kill them” and “shoot them” at protestors.

Tenbrink fired a single shot, which struck a nearby business behind the protesters, deputies said.

The three jumped back in the car along with a fourth person, who was not charged, and left the scene.

Deputies stopped the Jeep about 20 miles north of Gainesville on Interstate 75 and questioned the men.

One of the victims identified Tenbrink and the Fears brothers as the people who threatened him. Deputies said Tenbrink later admitted to firing the shot.

No trial date has been set for William Fears. He faces charges in Harris County, Texas, of assault of a family member.

Police there say William Fears choked his then-girlfriend. At the time of the Florida shooting, William Fears was wanted in Texas on a warrant. He is free on bond in Texas. No trial date has been set for those charges.

Colton Fears is being held on $1 million bond and Tenbrink remains in custody in the Alachua County Jail on $3 million bond.

By the time of the Florida shooting, William Fears was a known commodity in the white nationalist scene, having appeared at demonstrations in Austin, Houston, New Orleans and Charlottesville, among others.

Tenbrink proclaimed his dedication to the “14 words” and William Fears spoke of his desire to be martyred for his beliefs. Fears was also visible in footage from the disastrous Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally on August 12, 2017, shouting “Shoot! Fire the first shot of the race war!”


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