The sentencing phase for the man accused of killing his girlfriend and their young child in 2010 got off to a bizarre start Monday.
Craig Wall, 39, was found guilty last week of killing his 5-week-old son in Clearwater and stabbing his girlfriend Laura Taft, 29, to death less than two weeks after the child died. Wall pleaded guilty to Taft's stabbing but he pleaded no contest to killing his son.
Wall has said that he wants to be sentenced to death.
Representing himself in the sentencing phase, Wall addressed the judge Monday after a representative with the Florida Capital Resource Center, which advocates for death penalty defendants, argued Wall should have representation.
"The presentation of my case and my mitigation is my constitutional right," Wall said. "This is my case. This is my life. All the choices are mine alone to make."
Wall has asked for the death penalty, which is exactly what prosecutors are trying to get. Prosecutors say Wall violated an injunction and has a history of violent felonies.
"Evidence will establish the murder of Laura Taft was heinous and atrocious and cruel," Assistant State Attorney Kendall Davidson said. "Evidence will show that the victim screamed out for help in the middle of the night. Medical evidence will establish that she had defensive wounds."
The prosecution called several witnesses, including the medical examiner and neighbors.
Wall said he needs more time to prepare his case. He said he has numerous documents and video to comb through and likely won't be ready to present until Friday.
On Monday, he cross-examined the prosecution's witnesses. During that cross-examination, the judge reminded Wall several times to ask questions instead of giving testimony.
The sentencing phase will resume Tuesday.