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Alleged Natrona County Strip Club Killer Obtains New Counsel from California


October 24, 2013

By Megan Cassidy

John Knospler Jr., the man accused of shooting and killing 24-year-old James 'Kade' Baldwin this month at a Natrona County strip club, has obtained a new attorney who specializes in military cases.

Joseph H. Low IV, of The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV in Long Beach, Calif., has replaced attorneys from the Casper firm Chapman Valdez as lead counsel. Frank Chapman represented Knospler, 33, at his Oct. 7 initial appearance.

Knospler’s preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday morning but was continued to allow the new attorney to prepare for the case. He is charged with one count of second-degree murder.

The clean-shaven, tidy-haired defendant who appeared on Thursday was nearly unrecognizable from the bushy face in Knospler’s book-in photo. He wore a well-fitted plaid suit jacket with khaki pants. Knospler did not speak to the judge during Thursday’s appearance.

John Knospler Sr. posted a $500,000 bond on Oct. 10 in order for John Knospler Jr. to be released from the Natrona County Detention Center, according to court records.

Low offered the court a quick introduction of himself on Thursday, and told Circuit Judge H. Steven Brown he represented combat Marines all over the country. Knospler is a Marine veteran from Pennsylvania, and according to Low’s firm’s website, Low was a U.S. Marine as well.

Low’s local co-counsel is Grant H. Lawson from Spence Law Firm in Jackson. Lawson regularly practices out of Casper. Lawson referred to Low for all media questions regarding the case, but the Star-Tribune was unable to reach Low for comment on Thursday.

Officials say that just after midnight on Oct. 4, Baldwin left Racks Gentlemen’s Club and walked into the parking lot, toward a car that he apparently thought belonged to a friend. The car was actually driven by Knospler, another patron who had been kicked out of the bar earlier that night.

Witnesses said Baldwin tried to get into the passenger side of the car and when it was apparently locked, he walked over to the driver’s side. Authorities say this is where Knospler shot Baldwin and then drove off. He was swiftly arrested after being pulled over at the intersection of First and Wolcott streets.

Baldwin died in the Racks’ parking lot.

Chapman, Knospler’s former attorney, laid the foundation for a self-defense strategy at his initial appearance. Baldwin’s family has said Kade hated violence and would have never initiated an altercation.

If convicted, Knospler could face anywhere from 20 years to life in prison.

Another preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7.

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