By: Kassondra Cloos February 18, 2015 and Updated: Febuary 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm
A defense strategy exists in Marcus Smith pleading not guilty by means of insanity to a first-degree murder charge, his attorney said in court on Wednesday. But the 24-year-old man refuses to cooperate with his lawyers.
Defense attorney Josh Tolini told 4th Judicial District Judge Barbara Hughes during a hearing Wednesday that Smith has threatened to hurt and even kill him, and that Smith refuses to speak with Tolini.
Smith, of Colorado Springs, is accused of killing 87-year-old Katherine "Kit" Grazioli in Colorado Springs in November 2011. Police say he broke into her gated community, strangled her in her bedroom and set her body ablaze at the Captain Jack's trailhead on Gold Camp Road.
Tolini and Cindy Hyatt, and district attorneys Michael Fisher and Margaret Vellar debated in Wednesday's hearing whether some types of evidence would be permissible and if the prosecution should be required to provide certain documents for the defense.
Smith was present in court wearing a spit guard for roughly the first 30 minutes of his hearing before Hughes removed him, as she has many times in the past.
He mumbled and swore throughout much of the hearing, physically restrained by two deputies with two others standing guard, and ignored Hughes' many warnings to be quiet. He shouted that he "ain't going to trial" and "is going home," that he isn't an inmate, he is a slave. He tried to get Hughes' attention by calling her "Barbie." When Hughes asked him to stop talking because he was making the court reporter's job difficult, he insisted that he needed his own court reporter.
Hughes ordered him removed when he said she was "breaking my (his) balls."
Tolini told Hughes at the end of the hearing that Smith has serious mental health concerns that warrant a not guilty by means of insanity plea, but that Smith won't let his attorneys - his third pair of lawyers - enter the plea on his behalf. He threatens Tolini when the attorney tries to talk to him, Tolini said, and although he is more willing to speak with Hyatt, he makes inappropriate sexual comments to her.
Tolini said his client has called his paralegal and claimed she works for Smith and needs her to shoot Tolini.
"That defense counsel is being put in a difficult position is an understatement in this case," Tolini told the judge.
A trial date for Smith has been set for April 6, but at least two other trial dates have been postponed in recent years. Tolini said his client has the constitutional right to be present in front of the jury for his trial, but requested Smith be forcibly medicated when that time comes.
Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362
Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos