Accused killer wants lawyer fired - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Accused killer wants lawyer fired

Posted: Updated:
Jose Pazos Jose Pazos
Kathleen Smith Kathleen Smith
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The homeless man accused of killing Burlington social worker Kathleen Smith in 2010 wants his lawyer fired. "My feelings are not against the profession. Any other lawyer could work," said Jose Pazos during a court hearing.

Police say Pazos tied Smith up and slit her throat with a hunting knife -- his killing motivated by a grudge.  Two years after her death David Sleigh is now the third attorney Pazos says he doesn't trust.  And Smith's family is left waiting for justice while these legal arguments play out in court.

"I am aware that Mr. Pazos doesn't want me to pursue the strategy that I am," Sleigh said in court.

Sleigh believes his client is incompetent to stand trial and hired a mental health expert to evaluate the drifter. The doctor for the defense concluded that Pazos is mentally ill and therefore not competent.  Prosecutors then hired their own expert to re-interview the accused murderer. The state's doctor said Pazos is competent to stand trial but diagnosed him with persecutory delusions, or the unwarranted fears that others are out to get him.

"I see this as a garden variety competency dispute that's governed by the statute," Sleigh said.

This is normally when the court would call for a competency hearing and let the mental health experts battle their theories out. But in an unusual twist, the person at the center of their debate is fighting his own defense. Pazos claims he is not mentally ill and does not want any lawyer using his sanity as a defense. "If no attorney can be found, I'm willing to represent myself," he said.

The state also wants Sleigh removed from the case. So it's up to the judge to decide whether assigning Pazos a new lawyer will make any difference.  After that ruling, a competency hearing will likely be scheduled.  If Pazos is found to be competent at the hearing, he will then be able to represent himself, or stop a lawyer from using the insanity defense.

Related Stories:

2nd evaluation ordered for Vt. murder suspect

Burlington murder suspect to undergo evaluation

Man accused of murder wants to represent self

Murder trial to start as soon as February for Burlington drifter

Murder suspect wants to get inside DNA lab

BPD: murder charges coming against Pazos

Drifter denies murdering Burlington woman

Transient connected with murder victim due in court

Violent crime prompts Burlington public police forum

Transient prime suspect in Burlington murder

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Stowe couple dead in murder-suicide

    Stowe couple dead in murder-suicide

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:52:04 GMT
    Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
    A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags.
    More >>
  • Leicester man charged with shootings appears in court

    Leicester man charged with shootings appears in court

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
    A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
    A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
  • Woman sentenced in Vt. crash that killed motorcyclist

    Woman sentenced in Vt. crash that killed motorcyclist

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
    A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
    A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. cruiser crushing has June trial

    Man charged in Vt. cruiser crushing has June trial

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:34:06 GMT
    A Vermont man accused of crushing seven sheriffs' vehicles with a farm tractor is scheduled for trial in June.More >>
    A Vermont man accused of crushing seven sheriffs' vehicles with a farm tractor is scheduled for trial in June.More >>
  • Teen arrested in St. Albans bomb threat

    Teen arrested in St. Albans bomb threat

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
    A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
    Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
  • Missing Rutland woman found safe

    Missing Rutland woman found safe

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
    A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
    A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
  • Big buyer for Big Blue?

    Big buyer for Big Blue?

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:07:19 GMT
    IBM and chip production may soon be parting ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue is looking to unload three chipmaking plants-- two in upstate New York and its Vermont plant in Essex Junction.More >>
    With indications IBM may sell off its chipmaking plants, we talked to the company experts say may buy them. GlobalFoundries already has employees working at IBM in Essex Junction through a partnership, and experts say that could help the company decide whether the plant is a worthy investment.More >>
  • Darn Tough making darn good profits

    Darn Tough making darn good profits

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:04:45 GMT
    Darn Tough appears to be making a darn good profit. The high-end sock manufacturer out of Northfield reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever, with revenues up almost 80 percent over theMore >>
    Vermont sock manufacturer Darn Tough reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.