William Routenberg trial begins with accused murderer acting as his own attorney

Day one motions to dismiss tossed out by Judge

CLEARWATER, Fla. - You wonder if day one of the William Routenberg murder case is going to be a sign of things to come in this case, because day one was slow and confusing at times, and for one good reason, Routenberg has decided to represent himself.

Routenberg would enter the courtroom wearing a loose fitting shirt and baggy pants, hardly looking the role of a defense attorney.  But he would do his best in his own defense by trying to have the case tossed before the jury even heard one bit of evidence.

Routenberg would bring forward a motion to suppress all evidence. Essentially saying it was inadmissible because the paperwork documenting the evidence was not filled out properly. To support that claim he would call an undercover masked officer to the stand, as well as his own mother.

He would also call for a motion to dismiss in which he mentioned the 'stand your ground' law.

Judge Keith Meyer would dismiss both but tell Routenberg, "My rulings on these motions do not preclude the defense from raising these issues during the trial of this case."

Routenberg is on trial for the 2011 murder of his girlfriend, Shanessa Chappie, whose body, investigators say, he buried in the backyard where they lived in an area called High Point just east of US 19.

And with the jury finally in court late this afternoon, Asst. State Prosecutor Della Connolly would spell that out very clearly in their opening statement, telling the jury, "He stabbed her in the throat and watched her die.  And as she lay there dying, he didn't call the police, he didn't call the paramedics, he didn't try to take her to the hospital. Instead, he dug a hole in his back yard. He dumped her body in and buried her."

In his opening statement Routenberg did elude to self defense, and "stand your ground" by claiming to the jury that they would hear testimony that he himself was attacked, "The victim attacked him, and stabbed him in more than one place."

The trial continues Thursday.

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