Judge denies murder suspect's request to represent self

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

A James City County man charged with first degree murder in the death of his mother last May will not be allowed — for now — to represent himself when his case goes to trial in March.

Michael Alan Webb, 35, was in Williamsburg-James City County Court Wednesday for an arraignment hearing. During it, Webb pleaded not guilty of first degree murder in the death of his mother, Edna Webb.

But Webb, currently represented by J. Terry Osborne, told Judge Michael McGinty that he wished to represent himself and have standby counsel in the courtroom with him.

“He wishes to play a more active role (in his defense), Osborne said in court. “He wants to be more a part of the trial process.”

Webb said in court he wanted to represent himself because he felt he was best qualified to present a defense for himself, but he still wanted to have a lawyer beside him to assist.

“So if I had an objection … I wouldn’t be looked at as making a scene in court to speak out of turn — or be impolite or disrespectful,” Webb said.

McGinty spent the bulk of more than 90 minutes in the courtroom explaining court procedure and asking Webb if he understood how a trial would work if he represented himself.

Webb was initially charged with second degree murder; those charges were later upgraded to first degree murder.

Edna Webb, 64, was found dead in her Brookside Haven townhome May 17, according to James City County Police, who said the cause of death appeared to be blunt force trauma.

A motions hearing is set for Feb. 22 in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court, and a jury trial is scheduled in circuit court for March 27.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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