- Associated Press - Friday, August 24, 2018

CENTRALIA, Wash. (AP) - A man accused of killing his neighbor tried to fire his attorney and represent himself - a request denied by the judge.

The Centralia Chronicle reports that Randolph T. Graham of Winlock, Washington, tried to dismiss his attorney Thursday.

Graham made his announcement on the second day of his trial in the shooting death of Randy Lester. Graham was displeased, he said, with how attorney David Arcuri had handled his defense the day before and with the amount of time the two have spent together building his case.

Graham is accused of fatally shooting Lester May 23 while he played basketball at the end of his driveway with his son. The incident was allegedly prompted by a number of disputes, including a split electric bill for a shared well, placement of a car and basketball hoop in a shared easement and the shooting of Graham’s pet rabbits.

In Lewis County Superior Court Thursday, Graham raised a concern about his attorney’s defense of him. Arcuri on Wednesday cross-examined two of 10 witnesses called on by Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Paul Masiello and Will Halstead.

Graham said the case the state was making was “out of line.”

Arcuri told Judge Andrew Toynbee that he was caught off guard by his client’s request, adding their relationship had been positive. Arcuri said it would be damaging to Graham if he represented himself.

Toynbee asked Graham if he had any prior legal training. Graham said he had taken some classes about 20 years prior, and had no formal training.

Toynbee denied Graham’s request, saying he doubted the defendant sufficiently understood the process, particularly when it came to the exclusion of certain evidence that had been ruled inadmissible during previous hearings.

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