The man who has been serving a life sentence for the murder of Brian Simpson during the 2011 burglary of the Central Beach resident’s home will represent himself as he prepares for a new trial. Henry Lee Jones, 29, requested to be his own attorney in April just weeks after Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Cox refused to allow him a new public defender. His decision came despite the judge’s repeated warnings that such a move could prove dangerous and disadvantageous to his case.
Jones, who was convicted of first-degree murder and burglary, was granted a second trial in 2017 after the Fourth District Court of Appeals overturned his earlier conviction. Justices argued a new trial was warranted because Jones’ public defender was not allowed to question potential jurors about racial prejudice or bias. Jones is black. Simpson, 41 at the time of his death, was white.
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