Curtis Allgier again wants to fire his defense team, saying he plans to represent himself in his death penalty case for allegedly killing a Utah Department of Corrections officer.
"I'm telling you right now I'm representing myself, dude," Allgier told 3rd District Judge Paul Maughan on Wednesday. "This isn't up for discussion."
Maughan, frustrated by delays in the 5-year-old case, scheduled a jury trial to begin April 22 and said whoever is trying the case needs to be ready by then.
Allgier, 32, faces a capital murder charge for allegedly killing 60-year-old Stephen Anderson during an escape on June 25, 2007. According to the charges against Allgier, he shot Anderson with his own gun after the officer had unshackled him for an MRI scan at a Salt Lake City medical clinic.
The accused killer took offense to statements Maughan made Wednesday about the defense having no reason to try to move the case along quickly.
"I don't enjoy sitting in solitary confinement, sensory deprivation," Allgier said. "I'm not worried about trial. I'll be found not guilty. If you'll notice, someone else in Delta was just found not guilty, so they're apparently handing those out right now."
Allgier apparently was referring to Roberto Miramontes Román, who was acquitted earlier this month of the 2010 slaying of Millard County Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox. A jury found Román, 40, not guilty of first-degree felony aggravated murder, but convicted him of felony counts of evidence tampering and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon.
A hearing was set for Sept. 11 to determine whether Allgier will represent himself at trial. If he does, Maughan could order stand-by counsel to assist him with the case.
Allgier has had ongoing problems with his attorneys through the years.
"It wasn't particularly surprising," Salt Lake County prosecutor Bob Stott said of Allgier's request. "It's just another attempt by him to control the case."
An attorney-client conflict issue arose early on in the case when Allgier was represented by the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. An LDA lawyer revealed having a close personal relationship with the victim. That attorney was allowed to withdraw from the case.
Later, LDA claimed there was a lack of trust between LDA and Allgier because of allegations LDA attorneys went behind Allgier's back to request extra security during jail visits because he had threatened their lives.
The judge who said he was shown no proof the allegation was true had invited LDA to request a hearing to present evidence. Instead, LDA appealed to the Utah Supreme Court, a move that could have delayed a trial for up to another year. To avoid that delay, both the Utah Attorney General's Office and Maughan asked the Utah Supreme Court to allow Maughan to reconsider his prior decision, a request the high court granted in March 2011.
Maughan then removed LDA from representing Allgier, ruling that attorneys had not moved the case forward "in a meaningful fashion."
Allgier is currently represented by attorneys Richard Gale and Dusty Kawai, who started Wednesday's hearing by asking for unfettered access no chains or guards present for a doctor to perform 15 hours of neuropsychological evaluations. Because of the allegations against Allgier, Maughan said he would not allow such a visit, citing safety concerns in the prison.