The Queens man charged with fatally shooting Nassau County police Officer Arthur Lopez almost a year ago was allowed to switch attorneys Monday.
Nassau County Court Judge Jerald Carter allowed attorney Victoria Brown-Douglas to withdraw after she told the judge that her relationship with defendant Darrell Fuller "had broken down."
Carter said he still hoped to begin pretrial hearings in late October after Fuller's new attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard, has a chance to become familiar with the case.
Fuller, 34, of St. Albans, is charged with fatally shooting Lopez, 29, of Babylon Village on Oct. 23 as the officer pulled him over in his car near Jamaica Avenue and 241st Street on the Nassau-Queens border.
After shooting the officer, Fuller shot and killed another man, Raymond Facey, 48, of Brooklyn, and stole his car, police said.
Fuller, who is charged with two counts of murder, is also being tried in Facey's death.
Outside court Monday morning, Nassau PBA president James Carver said the change of attorneys was a delaying tactic that prolonged "the agony the family and friends have to go through . . . "
"This is a man who does not want to face the truth, and the truth is he took a gun out that day, he pointed it at Officer Lopez and he killed him in cold blood."
Lopez's sister, Charo Lopez of Westchester County, stood with Carver and about 100 police officers outside the courthouse.
"I just want everyone to know that no matter what the changes in the case, lawyers, whatever, we will always be here to fight for my brother," she said.
"The men and women standing behind me are my family, and we'll pursue this together," she said. "We won't quit until we hear 'guilty.' "