Hillary Hunziker, right, with defense attorney Laura Gavigan during a hearing Tuesday in Buchanan County District Court in Independence.

INDEPENDENCE – A judge has turned down an Independence woman’s request for a new court-appointed attorney to defend her against charges she killed her ex-husband in 2017.

Hillary Lee Hunziker, 33, said during a brief hearing in Buchanan County District Court on Tuesday that her current attorney is hard to get a hold of and she rarely sees her.

Defense attorney Laura Gavigan told the court that they have since worked out plans to address communication.

“I think we should be able to make it work so when she’s trying to contact me, I will make sure it’s at a time I will be available,” Gavigan said.

Judge Andrea Dryer told Hunziker that Gavigan had been working on the case and said her complaint fell short of a reason to appoint a new attorney.

Hunziker’s trial is currently scheduled for December.

She is charged with first-degree murder. Authorities allege she fatally stabbed 39-year-old Jason Hunziker at his rural Independence home in November 2017 following an extended child custody dispute where she allegedly made up unfounded abuse claims.

After the stabbing, she took their then 9-year-old son and had planned to flee Iowa, according to prosecutors.

The case was delayed in 2018 while Hillary Hunziker underwent a psychiatric evaluation to determine competency.

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