A prominent Houston attorney who successfully represented former death row inmate Muneer Mohammad Deeb has been hired by the mother of cult leader Vernon Howell and is hoping to see his client soon.

Bonnie Haldeman, Howell’s mother, hired Dick DeGuerin on Tuesday to represent Howell, who is holed up in the fortified Mount Carmel compound 10 miles east of Waco.

“The only thing that I am asking at this time is for the court to authorize access between attorney and client. They are in a state of siege, which is the same thing as being under arrest, and a person under arrest has a right to talk to a lawyer. In fact, anybody has a right to talk to a lawyer and if there is anybody in this country right now who needs a lawyer, it is David Koresh,” DeGuerin said Wednesday, referring to Howell by the name he has used since changing it in 1990.

DeGuerin was listed as Howell’s attorney of record in a motion filed Tuesday in Federal court by Waco attorney Gary Coker and Houston attorney Kirk B. Lyons seeking a temporary restraining order against the federal government and its handling of the Branch Davidian siege.

DeGuerin said he knew the motion was to be filed but concurs only with its requests to allow him access to Howell.

A former associate of the late, fabled Houston criminal defense attorney Percy Foreman, DeGuerin won acquittal for Deeb in January in Fort Worth. Deeb spent six years on death row after his conviction in 1985 in the reported murder-for-hire deaths of three teenagers at Lake Waco. He won a new trial in 1991.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. has not scheduled a hearing on the motion, a court spokesperson said Wednesday.

Coker, who represented Howell and seven of his followers in 1988 after a shootout with religious rival George Roden, said he thinks open communication with outside attorneys would hasten negotiations, now stalled after 12 days.

“Nobody wants those people to die in there,” Coker said. “It’s at least maybe a way out.”

Former McLennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell, who now lives in Austin, also has offered to represent members of the besieged compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.