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Quadruple Murder Trial Delayed, Again

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A day after the defendant in a quadruple murder trial was yanked from a courtroom for having numerous outbursts, the much-delayed trial was delayed again.

The trial for Gary McCray, who is accused of shooting and killing four people on May 23, 2004, in a Clay County house, was delayed until Aug. 25.

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 the victims were each shot with a high-powered semi-automatic weapon. Clay County deputies said McCray apparently knew the victims and they said the house where the shooting took place was known for drug activity.

After being arrested in a Tallahassee motel, McCray was 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 and ordered him to leave the courtroom. Four bailiffs physically removed McCray from the courtroom as the defendant yelled that he was not moving.

In court on Tuesday, McCray was not shackled or gagged. Those attending the trial expected to see the defendant restrained, but instead McCray entered the courtroom carrying a stack of documents, free of any restraints.

Moments later, those who have waited four years to see justice served for their loved ones were told they would have to wait, again.

"Mr. McCray, there's a motion filed here that's going to require us to delay this case until Aug. 25," Wilkes said.

The family members of McCray's alleged victims were not happy to hear of yet another delay.

"I can't believe that I've sat here for four years hoping for some kind of closure. When he came in, I felt like I was going to throw up. I feel that way now," said Whitehead's mother, Carol Allen.

Instead of getting closure, Allen and her relatives had to endure the antics of their loved one's accused killer, who again caused disruption in the courtroom.

McCray refused to stay quiet, saying to the court that he wanted to press charges against the Clay County Sheriff's Office and declining to cooperate with his lawyers.

After listening to McCray's accusations for 10 minutes, Wilkes had enough and ordered the defendant to leave the courtroom.

A jury has been selected for the murder trial. When trial resumes in August open statements are expected to begin.