Kalebu wants to testify while wrapped in American flag

Kalebu wants to testify while wrapped in American flag
SEATTLE -- Suspected killer Isaiah Kalebu wants to testify on his own behalf in the murder trial of Teresa Butz, he told the court on Monday, and he requested he be wrapped in an American flag to hide his shackles when he does so.

Kalebu was wheeled into the courtroom after prosecutors rested their case and the judge dismissed the jury until Wednesday morning. He had been relegated to watching his trial on closed-circuit TV from a separate room due to previous courtroom outbursts.

"Let's get this dog-and-pony show over with," Kalebu said. "Let's do it. You guys finally asked me to participate in the derailment of my life, so let's get it cracking."

King County Superior Court Judge Michael Hayden ruled Kalebu could testify, on the condition that he wear street clothes and remain shackled during his entire testimony. Kalebu then requested to wear a dragon robe and use an American flag to hide the shackles.

"You won't be here in an American flag; you won't be here in a grand dragon either," Hayden said. "You will be covered up in some fashion."

The judge scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning to review the contents of Kalebu's testimony. Defense attorneys said Kalebu wants to question himself; they do not plan to ask him any questions.

"Your honor, I've already spoken with Mr. Kalebu about the subject matter of his testimony. Based on that conversation, I have nothing to ask him," said defense attorney Michael Schwartz.

Kalebu told the judge he had his testimony planned in his head. But when he was asked outside the courtroom what questions he planned to ask himself, he said, "I don't know. You'll find out when we get there."

Kalebu's mother testified Monday morning in defense of her son.

"He doesn't understand what's going on. Maybe that's why he's tried three times already to commit suicide," said mother Denise Kalebu.

Kalebu is on trial for the rape and murder of Butz, who was killed in her South Park home in 2009. Her partner was also attacked, but survived and gave emotional testimony in court.

The suspected killer was hospitalized twice on Wednesday, once for an unspecified medical situation that occurred while he was alone in a jail cell. After he was brought back from the hospital, guards discovered that Kalebu had a part of a brass hinge in his mouth. He was taken back to the hospital where doctors forcibly extracted the piece of metal.

Kalebu was also hospitalized last week after he swallowed a small pencil while in court.

A juror also had to be excused from the trial after he told the court he could not stand the sight of blood in the gruesome evidence presented to the jury

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is not seeking the death penalty because of Kalebu's history of mental illness. If convicted, Kalebu could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.