Man accused of killing PV couple, cigar shop owner due in court

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on July 18, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 8:46 AM

PHOENIX -- The man charged in three murders is due in court Wednesday morning, and there's word he could fire his lawyers and represent himself.

Michael Crane's previous court appearances have been unusual in terms of his behavior.

During a court appearance in March, Crane refused to say his name then squawked like a bird.

When he was arraigned in late February, he questioned why his name was capitalized in court paperwork. When asked to spell his name for the record, he specified upper and lowercase.
(Watch video of Crane's arraignment)

At one point during the proceeding, which happened a week later than planned because Crane had refused to leave his cell, a Maricopa County commissioner asked Crane if he had any questions about his Constitutional rights as they had been presented. Crane responded by asked, "That's all there are?" punctuating the question with a laugh.

The commissioner ordered a psychological evaluation for Crane, which is required when there is the possibility of the death penalty. He was found competent to stand trial.

Crane, 31, has already pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges. He's accused of killing cigar shop owner Bruce Gaudet on Jan. 26, and then Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro on Jan. 30.

In both cases, the victims were robbed and their homes set on fire.

Gaudet's bullet-riddled body was found in the burned ruins of his Central Phoenix condo.

Four days later the Shapiros were found dead in their Paradise Valley home after police found their car burning behind a strip mall about 30 miles away.

Last month, Crane reportedly indicated that he was interested in representing himself.

During Wednesday's status hearing, attorneys will give the judge an update on how the case is proceeding. It's possible that during the hearing, Crane could fire his lawyer.

In addition to the murder charges, Crane also faces kidnapping, arson and armed-robbery charges. He is being held on $3 million bond.

Five other people were arrested in connection with the Shapiro and Gaudet cases. Those individuals were charged with theft, trafficking in stolen goods and hindering prosecution.

Michael Crane's arraignment

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