Convicted killer faces new gun charges just before prison release

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A federal magistrate has ordered a man convicted of ambushing and killing his attorney to be held without bond until he faces federal gun charges. Harold Don Noel was convicted in 2004 on a reduced charged of voluntary manslaughter in the June 21, 2002, slaying of attorney Robert Friedman.

Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction. Noel ambushed and shot Friedman three times in a downtown parking garage because he blamed Friedman for losing everything in a protracted, bitter divorce in 1998.

He was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2005. Noel was about to be freed after serving a portion of the sentence when a federal grand jury indicted him last month on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hall argued Thursday that Noel's confession in the Friedman murder showed it was not safe to release him on bond - and U.S. Magistrate Judge James Allen agreed.

Noel told homicide detectives that after killing Friedman, he planned to kill his ex-wife, her boyfriend, and the judge who presided over his rancorous divorce case, Chancellor D. J. Alissandratos. "He was caught too quickly by detectives," Hall said. "He had not finished the job he set out to do."

Noel's attorney, Michael Floyd, questioned the timing of the federal gun indictment, which came as Noel was to be released.

"They (federal grand jury) could have indicted him when it first happened," he said.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)