Colorado

Mar 13, 2013 11:03 PM by Juice Godfrey

Rant gets murder defendant ejected from courtroom

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A man charged with strangling an 87-year-old woman and setting her body on fire has been forcibly removed from a Colorado Springs courtroom after refusing to enter a plea and erupting in a rant.

Twenty-one-year-old Marcus Smith was supposed to enter a plea on Wednesday to charges of first-degree murder in the November 2011 slaying of Katherine Grazioli.

When he refused, District Judge Barbara Hughes entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

The Gazette reports Smith kicked an empty chair, insulted the judge and repeatedly interrupted the proceedings before Hughes ordered him removed.

Hughes has ruled that Smith is competent to stand trial. His trial is scheduled to start Aug. 5.

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