GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A long-delayed murder trial of a man accused of killing three men and a woman in a house near Orange Park had barely started Monday when the defendant began making outbursts, threatening to fire his lawyers and -- as he was physically removed from the courtroom -- telling to arrest the judge "for illegal activities."
Prosecutors said Gary McCray shot and killed four people on May 23, 2004 in a house known for illegal drug activity.
More than four years ago, Clay County deputies investigating reports of shots being fired found Phillip Perrotta, 53, John Whitehead, 37, John Oliver Ellis, Jr., 51, and Robin Selkirk, 45, dead of gunshot wounds.
Investigators said they were each shot with a high-powered semi-automatic, two of them as they were running away.
Clay County deputies said McCray apparently knew his victims and the house was known for drug activity. The house has since been destroyed.
Authorities said it was one of the worst crimes ever committed in Clay County.
Several days after the slayings, McCray was arrested in a motel near Tallahassee and held on drug charges while prosecutors built their homicide case against him.
In February 2006, Judge Frederic Buttner found McCray not competent to stand trial and sent him to a Florida State Hospital for treatment. Late that year, after hearing the recommendation of doctors at the mental hospital, Buttner ruled McCray was able to assist in his own defense.
As a jury was being seated on Monday, McCray became argumentative, told his lawyer to be quiet and began lecturing trial Judge William A. Wilkes about his rights.
"I am the head of the defense. I can defend myself if I feel like it," McCray told Wilkes. "I haven't fired (my lawyers) yet, but they are close to being fired."
When McCray refused to take some time and talk with his lawyers, Wilkes cut him off.
"Take him out. I've had enough," Wilkes said.
The State Attorney's Office said they intend to seek a death penalty if McCray is convicted.
- December 7, 2006: Man Ruled Competent To Stand Trial In 4 Killings
- February 2, 2006: Judge: Man Accused Of Killing 4 In Orange Park Not Competent
- August 17, 2004: North Florida Man Charged In Quadruple Homicide
- May 27, 2004: Quadruple Orange Park Killing Suspect Caught In Tallahassee
- May 25, 2004: 3 Orange Park Slaying Victims Had Been Arrested With Suspect
- May 24, 2004: Manhunt Continues For Suspect In Orange Park 'Mass Killing'
- May 23, 2004: 4 Killed In Orange Park Shootings