Ogden Man's Murder Trial Set to Open

Ogden Man's Murder Trial Set to Open

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Richard Quinton Gunn's trial for aggravated murder in the November 1999 near-beheading of his 78-year-old boarder was scheduled to begin Monday.

The aggravated murder charge carries the death penalty. The trial is scheduled through all of this week and next week before 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin.

According to testimony at bail and preliminary hearings, Gunn told police he killed Charles W. Leff "because he was a devil" and he suspected him of having sex with his girlfriend.

He said he stabbed at parts of Leff's body to take "his evil powers."

He told police that in the attack he used an ax, pool cue, walking canes, a crowbar, butcher knife, handsaw, fireplace poker, 12-inch bolt, straightedge razor and a large salad fork to kill Leff, who'd been living in Gunn's home for a month.

At Gunn's Feb. 11, 2000, preliminary hearing, police testimony added an ax, walking canes and a pool cue to the list of weapons allegedly used.

In July, Gunn's team of public defenders tried but failed to suppress Gunn's confession the day of the slaying.

Gunn, 55, has been in the Weber County Jail since his arrest on Nov. 3, 1999, the day after the killing.

The case has been delayed by Gunn's quarreling with his lawyers -- he fired several -- a refusal to submit to psychological evaluation, a 2001 federal lawsuit that cost one of his attorneys his job as a public defender, and Gunn's jailhouse lawyering filing handwritten motions on his own.

Gunn's federal lawsuit filed in December 2001 claimed the Weber County Public Defenders Association, which still represents him, is too poorly funded to handle death penalty cases. The suit is still pending.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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