Michael Zarate, the Brownwood man accused of murder in the November 2014 shooting death of Ernesto Gonzales Jr, has a new lawyer — his fourth — and a Sept. 11 trial date, 35th District Court documents show.
    Tommy Adams is the most recent attorney to represent Zarate, 33. Adams was appointed to the case on April 5 after Zarate’s previous attorney, Jud Woodley, was allowed to withdraw.
    References were made in an earlier court hearing that Zarate claimed Woodley was trying to poison him.
    Zarate remains in the Brown County Jail on bonds totaling $650,000, jail records state. In addition to murder, Zarate is  charged with evidence tampering in connection with the shooting of Gonzales, and he is also held on bond withdrawal warrants for aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child.
    Zarate was initially represented by Jimmy Stewart, followed by Charles King. Both were appointed, court documents show.
    Zarate complained King was not communicating with him, King told District Judge Steve Ellis in an April 2015 court hearing. King said he was communicating adequately and was in the trenches working the case, but Zarate was mad because King wasn’t his babysitter.
    After King was allowed to withdraw, Zarate’s family hired Woodley, court records state.
    In March 2016, Ellis signed an incompetency judgment after reviewing a report by Dr. Harold Scott, a court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated Zarate. Ellis ruled that Zarate was mentally ill and mentally incompetent and ordered Zarate confined to a state hospital.  
    Ellis ruled in January 2017 after reviewing further psychiatric reports that Zarate had regained competency.
    Adams, reached by phone Thursday, said he doesn’t yet know a lot about the Zarate case but said he’ll be going to see Zarate after a jury trial involving Adams is finished next week.