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WARREN Liberty man set for trial in killing



Published: Mon, June 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant was sent to a mental facility until he was deemed competent to stand trial.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A 37-year-old Liberty Township man who says he killed his clone is to go on trial today.

Atty. James Lewis, of the Ohio Public Defender's Commission, is representing Phil Mike. He says Judge John Stuard will hear the case in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. He would not say why he opted not to have a jury decide the case.

Mike is charged with aggravated murder in the death of Joe Furda, 40, of Broadway, Youngstown, on Feb. 23, 2000.

During arraignment last year, Mike told Judge Stuard that Furda was a clone.

Last June, the judge found Mike incompetent to stand trial. He was sent to a mental health facility for several months and was released in October after officials determined he is now able to aid in his own defense.

Lewis would not say if Mike will testify. Attorneys for both sides expect the trial to last about five days.

Possible sentence: If convicted, Mike could face 20 years to life in prison.

According to an affidavit filed with the court by the prosecutors office, Mike told police he did not know the victim's name. Mike said the two met at a bar, then went for a ride in Mike's car.

Authorities say Mike tried to cut off Furda's head with a sword. Furda's body was found in a wooded area in Liberty. He had been struck several times on the head and body.

A "Pennsylvania Security Officer" badge and a set of handcuffs with keys were found in Mike's car, authorities said.




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