MANATEE In an emergency hearing Friday afternoon, prosecutors brought to Judge Peter Dubenskys attention that Delmer Smith III has refused to meet with the states psychiatrist.
Smith was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the Aug. 3, 2009 slaying of Kathleen Briles. A status hearing has been set for Monday and the penalty phase, in which the jury will recommend a sentence of death by lethal injection or life in prison.
The defenses expert psychologist has already evaluated Smith, but the defendant indicated Thursday and enforced Friday that he does not want to present mitigating evidence to explain his actions.
Dubensky asked Smith if he understood the disadvantages of not presenting that evidence and he said yes. Dubensky will continue questioning Smith to see if his mind changes in the coming days.
If Smith refuses to meet with the states psychiatrist Sunday afternoon, the judge may prevent the defenses psychologist from testifying, or the defense psychologist may be required to turn over the material obtained from his interview with Smith to the states witness.
The defense has also arranged for Smiths sister and two nieces to be flown from Michigan to testify, and Dubensky said those accommodations would remain in place. Smith indicated he does not want them on the stand.
Smith also indicated discontent with his attorneys, asking if new ones could be appointed.
Dubensky told Smith he would have the weekend to draft a motion firing his lawyers or asking for new representation deeming his current defense ineffective.
The issue will be resumed at 8 a.m. Monday.