• Paranoid schizophrenic's antics in court frustrates prosecutor


    SUMTER COUNTY, Fla.,None - There were plenty of courtroom theatrics at a double murder trial on Thursday, where a paranoid schizophrenic defended himself.

    WFTV reporter Berndt Petersen was inside the Sumter County courtroom as the outbursts play out, while detectives explained how the weapons they found connected the defendant, Bill Marquardt, to the deaths of two Central Florida women.

    In a second floor courtroom, the judge was going to great lengths to keep the trial under control.

    "Did you testify in the past..." Marquardt asked a witness.

     "Objection!  Objection your honor!" a prosecutor interrupted.

    Acting as his own attorney against double murder charges, Marquardt's antics hit many nerves.

    "Did you yell 'Ah-ha!' for excitement?" asked Marquardt.

    "I have let you go ask questions that no lawyer would ever be allowed to ask," Judge William Hallman said to Marquardt.

    Marquardt is accused of killing Margarita Ruiz and Esperanza Wells in their Tarrytown cottage on March 15, 2000. 

    With the jury out of the courtroom, prosecutor Pete Magrino could not contain his frustration.

    "He wants to be the focus of the show, that's a sociopath," Magrino said.

    That was a statement that Judge Hallman would not let pass.

    "Calling Mr. Marquardt a sociopath, I'm not going to allow," said Hallman.

    Judge Hallman made it clear that two evaluations by doctors found Marquardt competent to represent himself at the trial, even though he was removed from a Wisconsin mental hospital to face the murder charges in Sumter County. 

    Marquardt insists that fellow drug dealers framed him with the crime and planted one of the murder weapons, a handgun, in his Wisconsin cabin. That was the gun Wisconsin police said they found two weeks after the killings in Tarrytown. 

    "Whatever his strategy is, he lives by his strategy, he dies by his strategy," said Magrino.

     Marquardt faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

    The state is expected to wrap up its case on Friday.

    Next Up:

  • Headline Goes Here

    Paranoid schizophrenic's antics in court frustrates prosecutor