Accused murderer continues to argue for self-representation

Accused murderer continues to argue for self-representation

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Michael Lee Crane Michael Lee Crane
PHOENIX -

The saying goes, "a man who is his own attorney, has a fool for a client."

Monday in a Phoenix courtroom, defendant Michael Crane battled to be his own attorney and represent himself in a high profile murder trial.

Crane has been in court before and has reputation for bizarre behavior. Is he competent to defend himself in the murder of a Paradise Valley couple and another man? A judge must decide.

When you're shackled, acting as your own attorney can be a challenge, but that is what accused murderer Michael Crane says he wants to do.

He went before Superior Court Judge Warren Granville with that request.

The 32-year-old has been accused of murder, kidnapping and arson in the deaths of three people including Paradise Valley couple Glenna and Lawrence Shapiro last January.

Judge Granville told Crane to grant his request, he must find Crane competent of defending himself.

"I must find that you not be disruptive or disrespectful to these proceedings."

"I don't know what country you're in sir. I know what country I'm in. You don't own me. You don't rule me. This is a public courtroom. This is an administrative courtroom, this courtroom is set by we the people," Crane replied.

Crane was at times combative with Judge Granville -- occasionally apologetic.

"I understand I'm being difficult please forgive me for my lack of trust."

More than half a dozen times Crane told the Judge he understood the rules, but didn't agree with them, and wouldn't follow them.

In the courtroom with Crane were three Sheriff's deputies, one standing just feet behind him during today's proceedings.

Judge Granville told Crane he thought he was being shortsighted in defending himself. The judge said he will take Crane's motion to defend himself under advisement. We expect a ruling fairly soon.

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