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Man to represent himself in murder appeal for killing his father in law in Donegal

October 29, 2018 GMT

A former Washington County man serving life in prison for the murder of his father-in-law on a secluded Donegal road five years ago said Tuesday he will continue to appeal his conviction without the help of a lawyer.

Michael Martin, 47, told Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani that he was not pleased with the work of his court-appointed lawyer and insisted that he will now defend himself as he continues to fight his first-degree murder conviction.

“They were not effective,” Martin said of his last two lawyers who were appointed by the judge to represent him during his appeals.

Defense attorney Tim Andrews represented Martin in an appeal Feliciani rejected in May. Attorney James Robinson was appointed to review Andrews’ work and concluded no additional appeal should be filed. Robinson was allowed to withdraw as Martin’s lawyer on Tuesday.

Martin was convicted in 2015 for the stabbing death of 67-year-old Earl Weygandt. Prosecutors said Weygandt had recently stopped giving financial support to Martin and his wife, who lived in Fallowfield Township.

According to trial testimony, Martin lured Weygandt from his home near Donegal to a secluded section of road where the murder occurred. Weygandt’s body was later discovered in his car, which prosecutors said was burned by Martin to coverup the murder.

Martin contended he acted in self-defense.

In his rejected appeals, he claimed his defense was not fully presented to the jury, witnesses were not properly questioned and his confession to police should have been barred from evidence.

Feliciani previously ruled there was no factual basis for the appeal.

By serving as his own lawyer, Martin will have to produce witnesses to substantiate his claims that he should receive a new trial, the judge said.

A hearing is expected to be convened in December to consider the new appeal.