Suspects in escape plot appear in court<BR><BR>

With tighter than normal security, five of the six suspects arrested in June allegedly trying to free a Kingman man from the Mohave County Jail, went before Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn Monday for preliminary hearings.

One of the defendants, Ronald Lee Manning, 43, of Las Vegas, Nev., asked the judge for a new attorney replacing his attorney, Deborah Liverence.

Conn denied his request.

Defense attorney Eric Engan asked to withdraw from representing another defendant, Tawanee Rushelle Barrett, 24, of Salt Lake City, citing a conflict of interest.

Another attorney will be reassigned to Barrett, Conn said.

Engan said a former client of his from Las Vegas had tipped off law enforcement officers about the escape attempt.

That client could be a witness for the prosecution if the six defendants go to trial, he said

The suspects in the alleged escape attempt are: Barret, Manning, Eugene Joseph Cofsky, 41, and his wife Sheri Diane Cofsky, 36, of Kingman; Dennis Charles Schilinski, 28, of Golden Shores; and Tracy Dale Date, 36, of Shore View, Minn.

Thesix are charged with a conspiracy to commit first degree murder and conspiracy to commit escape during a June 12 incident in which they tried to free David Samuel Goldberg, 41, while he was being taken from the jail to the courthouse, records show.

The six allegedly plotted to kill a corrections officer and free Goldberg, a suspect in an area drug lab case, records show.

Court security co-ordinator Bob Lawless said that additional sheriff officers were presente in the court room Monday during the preliminary hearings.

Last week, Conn sentenced Goldberg to seven years in prison after he was arrested and convicted of drug possession, according to court records.

The records state he was arrested Feb.

24.

After receiving the tip from Las Vegas Police Department of the plot to free Goldberg, more than two dozen officers from the sheriff's office, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Public Safety and the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team (MAGNET) staked out the area around the jail where Goldberg would have been transported from the jail across the street to the court house, records show.

The suspects, in five vehicles, were arrested on Oak Street and Andy Devine Avenue.

Two of the suspects, Manning and Schilinski, who planned the breakout, were stopped by officers in a mini-van near the jail and were allegedly found in possession of two handguns, according to records.

Barrett's next hearing is set for July 31.

Manning, Date and Schilinski's next hearing is set for Aug.

14.

Sheri Cofsky's next hearing is set for Sept.

5.

Eugene Cofsky's hearing date, originally scheduled for Monday, was canceled until next week.