Marlon Duane Kiser, the Chattanooga man on death row for the 2001 murder of Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy Donald Bond, is seeking court permission to fire his attorneys.
The lawyers, in turn, contend that some of the demands Kiser has made regarding his defense bring his competency into question.
Criminal Court Judge Don Poole, in court Monday morning, said a number of the charges Kiser has lodged against the lawyers cause him concern.
“I think it’s in everybody’s best interest that his competency be evaluated,” the judge said.
He scheduled a hearing on Sept. 24 to review examiners’ findings regarding Kiser’s legal status.
“If you are competent, (then) you can fire them,” the judge told Kiser, who represented himself from a seat in the jury box during the colloquy in court.
Earlier, in a 10-page handwritten letter to Judge Poole, the convicted killer said his attorneys are refusing to follow his directions on how to handle his case.
Kiser noted that before he signed documents accepting Rick Haberman as his lead counsel, the attorney “signed a contract stating that if I was displeased with his performance in any way, or if he submitted any documents against my wishes, he would remove himself from my case.”
However, the inmate continued, Haberman’s co-counsel – Autumn Gentry – has ignored his demands that she remove some of the mitigation claims in a petition filed with the courts.
“I had informed Ms. Gentry that . . . at least one claim was completely fictitious . . . and did not my approval, and I wasn’t signing that particular petition until the changes had been made,” he noted in the letter to Judge Poole. “I had also instructed Ms. Gentry that if she had sent that petition to the courts on my behalf as it was, she and Mr. Haberman were fired.”