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Murder trial close to concluding
By CHRIS COLLINS
Although Daniel Myers has chosen not to show up in court personally during his trial for the murder of Travis Weems, he attended by two-way video link Tuesday to tell Judge Greg Baxter that he will not testify on his own behalf.
Baxter ordered Myers to appear via video from the Baker County Jail on Tuesday after the jury had been dismissed for the day because of other matters on the court docket. The trial, which started Feb. 21, continued today and the case is expected to go to the jury after closing arguments this morning.
“I’m not gonna testify,” Myers told the judge.
As part of the jury instructions, Baxter will inform the five men and seven women hearing the case that they cannot hold Myers’ decision not to testify against him as they deliberate.
Myers, who has refused to attend the trial and remains at the Baker County Jail where he has been held since his arrest on Jan. 27, 2011, is represented by Mark Rader, an Ontario attorney.
Myers told Baxter in December that he wanted to fire Rader, a court-appointed attorney, because he did not believe Rader was doing a good job representing him. The judge denied Myers’ motion to remove Rader and advised Myers that the court had final authority over the matter.
As the trial got under way Wednesday, Rader presented the judge with a letter Myers had written to Rader.
Baxter read the letter into the record without the jury present in the courtroom.
“You are not my attorney and you do not represent me,” Myers wrote to Rader and added as a footnote: “Stay away from my mother’s house.”
As he has done throughout the trial, Rader again asked Baxter to postpone the trial until matters could be resolved with Myers or alternately that a mistrial be declared. Rader contends that Myers’ constitutional rights are being violated because he is not present in the courtroom.
“He made it clear, one more time, that I don’t represent him,” Rader said Wednesday.
Baxter noted that he denied Myers’ oral request for a new attorney in a letter dated Dec. 30, 2011, and again in January.
Baxter said Myers has said he can’t afford to hire his own attorney and he does not want to represent himself at trial.
“If there was a reason Mr. Myers could articulate as to why you, Mr. Rader, are not representing him adequately … but I have not found anything of question,” Baxter said.
“Your motions stem from (Myers’) choices not to talk to you, not to come to court, not to work with you,” he said. “They are not reasons to approve your motions.”
Myers also is facing charges of unlawful use of a weapon, felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful delivery and possession of methamphetamine.