TUCSON, Ariz. - Defense attorneys for a man charged with shooting and killing U.S. Deputy Marshal Chase White may ask that the U.S. Attorneys Office be removed from prosecuting the case.
Attorneys for murder suspect Ryan Schlesinger mentioned the idea in open court Friday but later said they were not at liberty to elaborate.
Deputy Marshal Chase White would have likely been well known to members of the U.S. Attorney’s office. As a Deputy Marshal he would have spent a lot of time in the Tucson Federal Courthouse. Soon after his death he was described as well-liked by everyone he worked with.
In an arraignment hearing Friday Magistrate Judge Bruce MacDonald entered a not guilty plea for Ryan Schlesinger—-routine at this early stage of the case.
Judge MacDonald set February 1, 2019 as the deadline for any plea change, and set this coming February 20 as the trial date before Chief Judge Raner Collins. It would be no surprise if the trial date is pushed back. Felony trials rarely begin soon after the events that triggered them.
On November 29th, Deputy Marshal Chase White was part of a team of Marshals assigned to arrest Ryan Schlesinger on charges of threatening a police officer. The Tucson Police Mental Health Team had a history of contacts with Schlesinger and said he had a history of hostility toward law enforcement.
Investigators say Chase White was hit when Schlesinger fired as they broke into his house. Schlesinger surrendered to Tucson SWAT officers about an hour later. He emerged from the house wearing a helmet and bullet-resistant vest.
The Marshals Service said the deputy U.S. marshal was the first killed in the line of duty in Tucson in 66 years.
Deputy Marshal White, 41, was an Air Force reservist, preparing for an upcoming deployment. He leaves behind a wife and children.