Thursday, June 21, 2018

Judge convinces defendant to keep his attorney

Published: 8/25/17 @ 12:06

By Justin Wier


Bryant Murphy came into Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Thursday morning intent on representing himself, but Judge Anthony M. D’Apolito persuaded him to keep his lawyer.

“I’d rather take my chance and shoot my shot,” Murphy said. “If it falls, it’s all on me.”

Murphy faces one count of felonious assault and two counts of harassment with a bodily substance, accused of putting urine and feces in a squirt bottle and spraying it into the face of a guard at the Ohio State Penitentiary on Coitsville-Hubbard Road. It caused serious physical harm to the guard, prosecutors said.

Murphy is 11 years into a 20-year prison sentence for an aggravated robbery and kidnapping committed in Butler County.

He told the judge he heard about Jermaine Bunn representing himself and reaching a not-guilty verdict on a murder charge, but that didn’t factor into his decision to represent himself. Murphy argued that, given the seriousness of the charges, he wanted to make sure things were done right.

He added that he’s been in solitary confinement for 10 years.

“I’m fighting for my sanity, my integrity and my dignity to stay intact,” Murphy said.

The desire to dismiss his attorney wasn’t personal, Murphy said, adding that both he and Atty. Anthony Meranto are alpha males.

Judge D’Apolito said most of Murphy’s complaints – including an amended indictment that added the two counts of harassment with a bodily substance – centered on the court and grand jury, rather than his representation.

The judge asked Murphy if he fell and broke his leg, would he want to operate on himself?

“I revoke my offer,” Murphy said. “I’m convinced.”

In addition to the initial trial date of Oct. 2, Judge D’Apolito set a backup date of Dec. 4 in case Murphy’s attorney needs more time to prepare for the case.

Murphy denied a plea agreement that would have dropped the two harassment charges and added six years to his current sentence.

“It’s my intent to go to trial,” he said. “It’s not my intent to take any pleas.”

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