An Alexandria judge appointed two former U.S. prosecutors yesterday to defend Montie Ralph Rissell, 18, against charges of abducting, raping and robbing four women whose bodies were found in western Alexandria over a nine-month period.
Rissell, who was indicted on the Alexandria charges on Friday, is jailed in Fairfax County on a charge of murdering a fifth woman in the county.
His appearance yesterday in Alexandria Circuit Court lasted only about 5 minutes. He said under oath that he is unable to afford an attorney, and Judge Donald H. Kent appointed Stephen Pickard and Stefan C. Long, both former assisant U.S. attorneys, to represent him.
Pickard and Long then conferred in private with Rissell before Rissell was returned to the jail in Fairfax City, where he is being held without bond.
Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney William H. Cowhig said yesterday he is conferring with Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan to determine which jurisdiction will try Rissell first. Cowhigh said he hopes the first trial will be held in Alexandria.
A preliminary hering for Rissell on the Fairfax murder charge is scheduled for June 8. A judge at that hearing could order Rissell held for the next county grand jury, which will meet in July.