Andrew Vrba appears in September 2017 in Courtroom A of the Texas County Justice Center for arraignment in a murder.

Two attorneys with the state’s public defender system who specialize in death penalty matters have joined the case of local man who could face the sentence.

Thomas J. Jacquinot and Patrick J. Berrigan, both of Kansas City, will assist in defending Andrew J. Vrba, 19, of Houston, who is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse in the September 2017 death of Joseph M. Steinfeld, who went by “Ally” and planned to transition to a female, according to family members. Authorities allege the victim was stabbed and the remains burned.

Separately, Crawford County Circuit Judge Sidney T. Pearson III, allowed Michael Barrett, director of the Missouri Public Defender system, to exit from the case on July 19. The case will be heard in Steelville  on a change of a venue from Texas County.

Kevin M. Zoellner is the special prosecuting attorney from the Missouri attorney general office. He joins Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr.

The next review of the case in court is set for Sept. 5.


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