by: Richard Elliot Updated:
ATHENS, Ga. - Jamie Hood, the suspect in an Athens police officer's slaying, said he did not want to represent himself during his upcoming death penalty case, but said he would if he couldn't get a new public defender he agreed with.
Hood was in court Thursday to answer questions about his desire to serve as his own lawyer during the upcoming trial. He's accused in the March 2011 killing of Athens-Clarke County Police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian and the wounding of Officer Tony Howard. After a long manhunt, Hood surrendered to police live on Channel 2 Action News.
Hood has had several animated disagreements with his public defenders and their legal tactics. Just last year, he successfully fired his court-appointed lawyers and was appointed new ones. During those months, he often spoke out in court, saying he could always represent himself during trial.
Because prosecutors feared Hood could bring up that issue on appeal, they filed the motion requesting Hood serve as his own attorney in order to get him on the record about whether he wanted to be his own attorney.
During the hearing, Hood told Judge J. Patrick Haggard that he did not want to be his own attorney, but at the same time, left the door open possibly to serving in that capacity if he cannot get a lawyer who agrees with his own legal strategy.
Hood has already admitted in open court that he shot both Christian and Howard, though later he did enter a not guilty plea.
Hood told the judge that if he does represent himself, he wants more access to a law library and doesn't want to have to wear shackles or a shock belt during the trial.
"During the trial, I'm in cuffs, (which) gives a presumption of guilt," said Hood. "I haven't threatened nobody. I haven't put my hand on nobody. I've been coming to this courtroom for two years. I don't see the need for me walking around with 50,000 volts on me."
Hood also asked the judge to consider a change of venue.
Haggard said he would rule on all the motions "promptly."
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