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Thursday, Apr 18 2013 04:38 PM

New attorney appointed for Taft Union High shooting suspect

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Bryan Oliver is shown in this file photo as he arrived in Kern County Superior Court for his arraignment on attempted murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The attorney for the teen accused of opening fire and critically injuring a student at Taft Union High School has withdrawn from the case because of a conflict of interest, according to court documents.

Judge Steven M. Katz granted attorney David A. Torres' motion to withdraw as suspected shooter Bryan Oliver's attorney, court documents said. The motion was granted Wednesday morning.

Kern County Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman confirmed Thursday he is now representing Oliver.

Torres could not be reached for comment. He said in court documents that he only recently became aware of the conflict.

"Based on the confidential conflict, I can no longer ethically represent Mr. Oliver in any of his criminal proceedings," Torres wrote in the documents.

Also Wednesday, Oliver's preliminary hearing was pushed back from May 2 to July 9.

Oliver has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a gun for shooting and critically injuring a student at Taft High. The Jan. 10 shooting came on the heels of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn., and led to international coverage and renewed calls for gun restrictions.

Authorities said Oliver shot and critically injured student Bowe Cleveland and fired at but missed student Jacob Nichols. Shotgun pellets grazed teacher Ryan Heber, who, along with campus supervisor Kim Fields, convinced Oliver to drop the gun, officials said.

Oliver, 16 at the time of the shooting, is being held on $1.5 million bail. A probable cause declaration filed in court said Oliver told authorities he targeted Cleveland and Nichols because they bullied him.

Cleveland, also 16 at the time, suffered injuries to his abdomen and chest and underwent several surgeries. Daniel Rodriguez, the attorney representing the family in a claim against the school district alleging school officials should have known Oliver was dangerous, has said Cleveland faces months of physical and psychological therapy.

Earlier this month, Cleveland was rushed to the hospital with a greenish liquid oozing from a hole in his chest. Rodriguez said Cleveland was discharged after a day, but there continues to be swelling in the upper right area of his chest and liquid continues to leak out.

A doctor told the family he believes Cleveland's liver was damaged and bile is leaking through the wound, Rodriguez said Thursday. He said the family is hoping the liver heals and the leakage stops, but if it continues Cleveland will have to undergo surgery to repair it.

"It's a touch-and-go situation," Rodriguez said. "He's not out of the woods yet."

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