Disruption in court after killing spree suspect seeks new lawyer

A man accused of going on a murderous crime spree in Wayne and Oakland Counties back in February caused a disruption in court after expressing dissatisfaction with his attorney.

Vernest Griffin, 45, is charged in both a shooting in Taylor and Pontiac that left two people dead. 

In the Taylor shooting, police say Griffin walked into BSD Trucking with a semiautomatic weapon and started shooting, striking and killing 60-year-old Keith Kitchen of Garden City. He was charged with first-degree murder, carjacking, armed robbery and felony firearm.

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In the second shooting about an hour later in Pontiac, Griffin is accused of killing 58-year-old Eriberto Perez at Aluminum Stamping Inc. Griffin allegedly used an AK 47 and had 30 round magazines in the murders. 

Police say Griffin went to a third business, Assured Trucking in Waterford, about 20 minutes later. They say he entered that workplace and asked for someone by name before leaving. He then took off in a stolen semi truck, then got into a shootout with Waterford police, drove away again, crashed the vehicle, then got into a second shootout when he was struck by gunfire and taken to the hospital in police custody. 

The court proceeding Friday involved his first-degree murder charges from the incident in Pontiac.

As the proceeding began, Griffin began cussing in his seat, causing court officers to warn him to calm down.

"I don't accept him as my lawyer," Griffin said. "You were supposed to inform that before I walked out here. So you all are just going to proceed without allowing me to talk at all. What the hell am I here for?"

Griffin then stood up, which prompted to court officers to restrain him.

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"You better get the f*** off of me," he said. "You better let go of me."

The judged asked if there was a reason why Griffin didn't accept his lawyer. Griffin says there are multiple.

"It starts when I got arrested and when I informed him how I got arrested, and what happened when I woke up in the hospital. And what was done to me in the hospital by Oakland County sheriffs when they were faking to be nurses in (the hospital.)"

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Griffin went on to say that while under drugs and duress, he was questioned about his name and his involvement, while the detectives in the room never identified themselves as detectives. He said he told he his lawyer about it. 

The defendant says he also told his lawyer about the conditions of the Oakland County Jail, where he says he saw blood and feces. He said the lawyer said there was nothing he could do about it. Griffin said he knows that's not true because he has another lawyer in another case who has told what is legal or illegal.

"This exam is not legal and I will not accept him as my lawyer," Griffin said.

Judge Martinez said he hears Griffin, but can't change his lawyer -- only the circuit court judge can. The judge said once they got through this exam and the case went on to circuit court, Griffin could ask for a new lawyer.

"I'm not here for a misdemeanor charge. I'm not going to allow to this to just go by. I'm here for first-degree murder," Griffin said.

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The judge said they must get on with the exam, but Griffin said he hadn't informed his lawyer of the facts of the case because he doesn't trust him.

The lawyer said he had been in constant contact with Griffin's mother and have seen him in jail many times, they did a forensic evaluation, and he's provided all the discovery to Griffin.

The judge decided to contact  the circuit court judge and hear what he has to say.