ATHENS, Ga. - Accused Athens cop-killer Jamie Hood once again admitted in open court that he shot and killed a police officer, and he worried that he's not getting a fair trial because he doesn't trust his own court-appointed attorneys.
Hood is accused of killing Athens-Clarke County police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian and wounding Officer Tony Howard. He surrendered days later live on Channel Two Action News.
Hood's oft-delayed murder trial had to go back to square one after a former judge stepped aside when it was revealed he visited the wounded officer in the hospital and knew the man's father.
Judge Patrick Haggard took over the case and started the trial from the beginning on Friday.
After working through several procedural matters, Haggard allowed Hood to speak.
"I did something I'm not proud of," said Hood in open court despite the judge's warnings about self-incrimination. "I want the truth to be told."
Later, Hood talked about law and class.
"That's the sort of thing that led me to shoot an innocent man I hadn't seen before in my life," Hood said.
Hood complained that he doesn't trust his court-appointed public defenders and asked the judge if he could sit as second chair on his legal defense team. He even threatened to fire his entire team and represent himself in the death penalty case.
Later, he complained about conditions at the Barrow County Jail, where he's being held, and worried about his health.
At one point, he got personal with Judge Haggard, asking him point blank if, in fact, his father had been killed by an African-American male. Haggard responded that he had. His father was killed during a robbery attempt 20 years ago. Hood was concerned that could have a bearing on the case.
"I killed a white man," said Hood. "Professional folks say it don't have no bearing on what's going on, but in this neck of the woods, it do."
But Hood said he would give Haggard the benefit of the doubt that he could preside over the murder trial. Haggard announced his intention to hold an arraignment hearing after the first of the year.