The man appealing his conviction for murder and other counts in the deadly 2017 robbery of La Placita market has requested that his attorneys be removed from the case.

Jorge Caballero-Melgar was sentenced last month to 460 months in prison after a U.S. District Court jury found him guilty of murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to carry a firearm during a crime of violence and illegal reentry after deportation.

He and four other people were charged in the death of Jose Cruz, 31, of Bowling Green, who was shot and killed March 17, 2017, while attempting to intervene during a robbery of the Morgantown Road business.

While the other four co-defendants pleaded guilty, Caballero-Melgar took his case to trial this year and was found guilty on all counts.

Caballero-Melgar’s attorneys, Bryce Caldwell and Jeffrey Darling, filed a notice of appeal of the conviction and sentence with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on Nov. 1.

A handwritten motion Caballero-Melgar submitted from the Daviess County Detention Center in Owensboro was entered Tuesday, asking for their removal and the appointment of new counsel.

The motion from Caballero-Melgar expressed concern that having Caldwell and Darling continue representing him “could have a very negative and detrimental outcome for me” as he appeals his conviction.

“The entire time that Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Darling were representing me up until trial and during trial we were having conflict of issues about the defense of my case,” the motion from Caballero-Melgar said.

The motion from Caballero-Melgar doesn’t specify the source of the conflict.

Caballero-Melgar said in the filing that he had previously asked to have his attorneys removed, only to be denied by the U.S. District Court, and that he continues to have “conflict of issues” with Caldwell and Darling.

Court filings show Caballero-Melgar requested appointment of new attorneys a week before his trial was set to begin.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Greg Stivers denied that motion, entering a ruling that said there did not appear to be a complete breakdown of communication between Caballero-Melgar and his defense team, and that Caballero-Melgar was “dissatisfied with his counsel because they refuse to file a meritless motion at defendant’s request.”

The latest motion from Caballero-Melgar would be taken up by the federal appeals court.

At Caballero-Melgar’s trial, jurors heard evidence that he was the mastermind of a string of robberies that took place in multiple states.

Co-defendants testified that Caballero-Melgar selected the businesses to rob, supplied the robbers with firearms, kept in touch with his co-defendants over cellphone during each heist and received an equal share of the money stolen from each business.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit

— Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit

Recommended for you