Attorneys take over Cooke’s defense in murder retrial

    A former death row inmate charged with raping and killing a University of Delaware student in 2005 has lost the right to act as his own attorney in his retrial.

    After a third day of outbursts from James Cooke Jr., the judge ordered Cooke’s court-appointed standby attorneys to take over his defense.
    Defense attorneys immediately asked for a mistrial so that they could start over with a new jury, but the judge denied the motion. He did order a break in the trial until Thursday to give defense attorneys time to prepare their case.

    The judge had warned Cooke repeatedly since the retrial began Monday not to violate restrictions on discussing certain issues and not to use his cross-examinations to argue and make statements rather than ask questions.

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