Accused killer in court, wants to defend himself

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Accused killer, thief and arsonist Michael Lee Crane wants to add the title of jailhouse lawyer to his résumé.

"Sir, I believe I have always acted as my own attorney," the raspy-voiced, 32-year-old ex-con lectured Judge Warren Granville on Monday.

Granville is deciding whether to grant Crane's request that he be allowed to act as his own attorney in his two upcoming criminal trials, one of which includes three first-degree murder charges that carry with them the possibility of a death sentence.

Crane stands accused in the grisly robberies and murders of a Valley businessman named Bruce Gaudet and a Paradise Valley couple named Glenna and Lawrence Shapiro earlier this year.

"Your laws don't apply to me," Crane told Granville as the judge patiently but forcefully cautioned Crane about the perils of self-representation.

After a testy, half-hour hearing Monday morning, Granville announced he would rule on Crane's motion to act as his own attorney within the next few days.