By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Defendant Robert Allen Wigley said yesterday that although his chances for an acquittal would be better if he had an attorney, he will still prove he is innocent of murder.
District Attorney Mike Riese, who is prosecuting the case, had less to say about how the trial is proceeding yesterday, but said he will prove the defendant is guilty.
Both Wigley and Riese were contacted yesterday for comments about how they perceive the trial is developing.
Wigley, 37, will begin the fourth week of his first-degree murder trial on Monday. He is accused of slaying 18-year-old hitchhiker Camillia Randall, who was passing through Crescent City in October 1994.
"I feel like I am double-pinned in there sometimes," Wigley said about his battles with District Attorney Mike Riese and Judge Robert Weir. "Between him and Weir, I am fighting two lawyers at the same time."
Wigley was arrested in 2001 when the California Department of Justice matched his DNA to evidence found on Randall's body. Since that time, the defendant has dismissed his court-appointed attorneys and decided to represent himself at trial.
"One (lawyer) wanted to paint Camillia out to be the biggest slut in the country. I wasn't going to go for that. I'd be better off bringing a bucket of rocks into the room and throwing them at the jury," he said.
"I'm not representing myself because I don't trust attorneys. I just don't trust the ones they appointed me," he said.
"Mr. Wigley's right to self-representation is firmly rooted in the U.S. Constitution," Riese said. "And even though he's had three attorneys appointed by the court, he's chosen to exercise his right to self-representation."
Wigley suggested during the first week of the trial that Brookings, Ore., attorney Pat Foley take over for the rest of the proceedings. Foley represented the defendant for a few months in 2002.
Weir said he would consider appointing Foley to the case if it would not mean a delay in the trial. Foley later said it would take him at least a month to step in.
Yesterday, Wigley said he decided against pursuing Foley's involvement because the timing would not work out.
As for his ability to handle the case himself, the suspect said he is learning more about the process as the days mount.
"I don't really know what I'm doing in there. I'm kind of faking it," Wigley said when asked why he rarely objects to questions posed to witnesses by Riese. "I know how to ask questions, and I think I know how to trip somebody up."
The suspect said he believes some of the prosecution witnesses including expert witnesses who testified they found no animal evidence to mutilation of Randall's body don't perceive him as a challenge in the courtroom.
"A lot of them think they don't have to tell the truth because they're not facing a talented attorney," he said. "But if you get right down to the facts of the case, they know it was animal activity that was done to the body."
The victim's body was found with a hole in her chest. Her left lung and heart were removed, and her left arm was denuded of its flesh. According to prosecution witnesses, the hundreds of cuts found on the body were evidence of a knife attack, and the mutilation was caused by a human.
Wigley, who said he had consensual sex with Randall and admits to dumping her body, insists there was no knife involved in her attack.
In response, Riese said his experts have spoken about the evidence in the case, and their determination was clear.
In looking forward to presenting his defense, which has yet to begin, Wigley said much of it will be revealed before then.
"I don't think they're going to let me have a defense, really," said Wigley. "He (Riese) is going to say That's irrelevant' or That person is irrelevant.' But I think I will prove my case before that."
The defendant said he will spend a great deal of time cross-examining his former wife Marie Biggers when Riese calls her to the stand. Wigley has insisted it was Biggers who killed Randall.
"When she hits the stand and I get through with her, the jury is going to know that all the rest of the (witnesses) before her were either lying or mistaken," said Wigley. "I don't think there's going to be enough of her to put her on twice."
Wigley said an alibi of Biggers', which places her at another location at the time of Randall's death, will unravel once he questions her.
"No matter how it comes out, whether the jury says I'm guilty or not, I'm going to prove to a lot of people that she's guilty," said Wigley.
Riese was reluctant to speak about any details of the case yesterday, although he did offer general comments.
"Ultimately, I have an ethical duty not to discuss this case in the press. I will try my case in an open court of law with admissible evidence, as opposed to misleading the public in any other forum, as I believe Mr. Wigley is attempting to do," Riese said.
"Mr. Wigley started this trial stating he had nothing to do with this case nothing to do with her (Randall's) death. So far, the evidence has proven otherwise," said Riese. "I cannot specifically comment on what is yet to unfold in court; however, we intend to prove Mr. Wigley's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."