By Brad Segall
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — The Upper Merion man accused of murdering a ten-month-old toddler and the girl’s grandmother in what prosecutors say was a botched kidnapping attempt in King of Prussia (see prevuios story) has fired his trial lawyer and plans to represent himself.
Raghu Yandamuri is facing the death penalty if he’s convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of little Saanvi Venna and her grandmother, but he still asked a judge to allow him to discharge his trial lawyer.
The judge approved the motion and immediately appointed Steve Heckman as standby attorney, available only for consultation and advice.
Heckman tells KYW Newsradio he believes Yandamuri made the wrong decision.
“He knows nothing about the rules of evidence, the rules of criminal procedure, the rules of dealing with jury selection, the rules of giving opening and closing statements,” he said following the courtroom proceedings.
Heckman says the he and the defendant apparently don’t see eye to eye on everything in the case and Yandamuri has another story he wants to tell (see previous story). He is keeping another attorney for the penalty phase.
Prosecutors say they are ready to proceed with the trial, scheduled to begin in early September.