Joe Morrissey, who could soon lose law license, ready to defend suspected Walmart killer

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- One day after he told a Hanover judge he could not be in court due to a scheduling conflict, defense attorney Joe Morrissey claimed the Hanover Commonwealth's Attorney was afraid to face him in the courtroom.

Morrissey is representing Brittany Wiggins.

Wiggins is charged with first-degree murder for the February 2017 fatal shooting of Ashley Fricke outside Walmart in Ashland.

Morrissey and the Hanover Commonwealth's Attorney were set to meet Monday in court to set a date for Wiggins' upcoming trial.

Morrissey instead called into court Monday and told the judge he was unable to attend that hearing to set a trial date.

The judge told Morrissey to come to court Tuesday, where it was decided the two sides would meet again June 1 to set Wiggins' trial date.

Outside court on Tuesday, Morrissey claimed he was ready to go to trial now to defend Wiggins.

He then accused the Hanover Commonwealth's Attorney's Office of delaying the process to gain a legal advantage.

"The Commonwealth doesn't want to face Joe Morrissey in court," Morrissey, speaking in the third person, said. "The Commonwealth is desperate to try this case without Joe Morrissey sitting at the table. They are doing anything and everything they can to avoid having to face me in the courtroom. That's the bottom line."

When asked about Morrissey's claim, Hanover Commonwealth's attorney Trip Chalkley said he would not comment during pending litigation.

Earlier this year, a three-judge panel revoked Morrissey's law license -- effective June 15 -- over ethics complaints.

Morrissey, who said he planned to appeal that revocation, said he believed Hanover was hoping to delay the trial so he would not be allowed to defend Wiggins.