December 11, 2017
information charging the defendant with the crimes of murder
and assault of an elderly person in the third degree, brought
to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain
and tried to the jury before D'Addabbo, J.;
verdict and judgment of guilty, from which the defendant
H. Wagner, assistant public defender, with whom was Lauren M.
Weisfeld, public defender, for the appellant (defendant).
A. Chiarenza, assistant state's attorney, with whom were
Elizabeth M. Moseley, assistant state's attorney, and, on
the brief, Brian W. Preleski, state's attorney, for the
Palmer, McDonald, Robinson, D'Auria, Mullins and Kahn,
appeal arises from the conviction of the defendant, Jan G.,
who murdered his father and physically assaulted his elderly
mother. At trial, the defendant insisted upon testifying that
Satan had taken over his body and performed these acts. As a
result, defense counsel requested, based on the Rules of
Professional Conduct generally, that the defendant be
permitted to give that testimony in narrative form. The trial
court granted that request, and the defendant subsequently
testified to his version of events in that manner.
Ultimately, the jury found the defendant guilty of murder in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and assault
of an elderly person in the third degree in violation of
General Statutes § 53a-61a (a) (1). This appeal
issue we must resolve in this appeal is whether the trial
court's decision to allow the defendant to testify in
narrative form caused him to be self-represented during his
testimony without a proper waiver of his right to counsel.
The defendant claims that State v. Francis,
317 Conn. 450, 452, 118 A.3d 529 (2015), wherein this court
held that the defendant, Maurice Francis, was
self-represented during his narrative testimony and that his
waiver of the right to counsel was not voluntary, controls
the present case and requires a new trial. Because of the
factual distinctions between this case and Francis,
however, we conclude that our decision in that case does not
control the outcome of the present appeal. Instead, on the
basis of our review of the facts and circumstances of the
present case, we conclude that the defendant was not
self-represented during his testimony and, therefore, is not
entitled to a new trial. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
record reveals the following facts, which the jury reasonably
could have found, and procedural history. The defendant lived
in the first floor apartment of a two-family home. His ninety
year old father and seventy-four year old mother lived in the
second floor apartment.
October 13, 2011, the defendant consumed a large quantity of
cocaine. Thereafter, in the early morning hours of October
14, 2011, the defendant entered his parents' apartment
and punched his mother in the face. The punch knocked out one
of his mother's upper front teeth, cut her lip, and
caused swelling and bruising extending from her left eye to
the bridge of her nose. After assaulting his mother, the
defendant armed himself with an ornamental sword from his
apartment and knives from his parents' kitchen. With
these weapons, he proceeded to attack and kill his father.
attack, the defendant gouged out the father's left eye,
broke his nose, slit his neck twice, and forced the handle of
a potato masher down his throat. The defendant also amputated
his father's penis and ate it. In all, the autopsy
subsequently performed on the father's body revealed
approximately seventy-six sharp force wounds.
defendant attacked his father, his mother ran for help. When
the police officers entered the first floor apartment, they
found the defendant seated on his couch, using his computer,
naked from the waist down, and covered in blood. The
defendant was sweating, and it appeared to the officers that
he was under the influence of some type of illicit drug.
Nevertheless, the officers observed that he also appeared to
understand what was being said to him. The officers
discovered the lifeless body of the defendant's father on
the floor of the second floor apartment. He was pronounced
dead at the scene. The defendant was arrested.
his arrest, the defendant tested positive for cocaine and
opiates. Both in his apartment and in the hospital on October
14, 2011, the defendant asserted that he was Satan.
Specifically, the defendant stated the following to the
officers in his apartment shortly after his arrest:
‘‘I am Satan. I made a pact with your earth and
you did not keep your end of the deal. I order you to release
me and take these cuffs off . . . .'' Even though the
defendant identified himself as Satan at times, at other
points during his interactions with the police that evening
he also referred to himself by his real name. At the police
department later that day, the defendant told officers
‘‘that it was the drugs . . . crack and
cocaine.'' The defendant then asked:
‘‘What do you think I'll get? Ten, twenty
state charged the defendant with one count of murder in
violation of § 53a-54a (a) and one count of assault of
an elderly person in the third degree in violation of §
53a-61a (a) (1). The defendant pleaded not guilty to these
charges, elected a jury trial, and was found competent to
trial, the defense introduced the testimony of Alec Buchanan,
a forensic psychiatrist, who conducted a psychiatric
evaluation of the defendant while he was awaiting trial.
Buchanan explained that the defendant told him that he began
to use cocaine in 2008, developed an interest in Satanism
shortly thereafter, and believed Satan took over his body to
perpetrate the crimes against his parents. Buchanan also
acknowledged that the onset of the defendant's symptoms
coincided with his cocaine dependence and that the symptoms
resolved when he no longer had access to cocaine.
Buchanan's testimony, defense counsel requested time to
discuss with the defendant whether he would testify on his
own behalf. The trial court granted that request and
permitted a recess. When the trial resumed two days later,
defense counsel informed the trial court, outside the
presence of the jury, that the defendant was asserting his
right to testify.
trial court then canvassed the defendant on his decision to
testify. After this canvass, defense counsel requested that
the defendant's testimony proceed in a narrative format.
When the trial court asked why, defense counsel specified
that his request was not based on rule 3.3 of the Rules of
Professional Conduct,  but ‘‘on other parts of the
rule[s] . . . .'' The state did not object to this
request, provided it could object during the defendant's
testimony and conduct cross-examination.
the trial court proceeded to canvass the defendant a second
time. This canvass focused specifically on the
defendant's decision to testify in narrative form. The
trial court explained to the defendant that his testimony
would be in a different format than the testimony of other
witnesses and that the court would instruct the jury not to
speculate as to why the defendant was testifying in narrative
form. The trial court then warned the defendant that his
attorney might not be ‘‘effective in
representing'' him during the narrative testimony.
The trial court then asked the defendant if he still wished
to testify in narrative form, and the defendant confirmed
that he did.
the trial court completed this second canvass, the jury
entered the courtroom. The trial court instructed the jury
that the defendant would testify in a ‘‘somewhat
partial narrative form . . . .'' After the defendant
took the stand, defense counsel inquired about the
defendant's name, age, and schooling, and then asked the
defendant broadly ‘‘about [October 14, 2011] and
[the] events leading up to October 14, 2011 . . . .''
The defendant then testified, in narrative form, that his
drug use led to an interest in Satanism and that, on October
14, 2011, after taking drugs the evening before, he was
possessed by Satan. He told the jury that Satan took his body
to his parents' apartment and killed his father. The
state then cross-examined the defendant. Following
cross-examination, defense counsel ...