Criminal Justice

Third trial in little more than a week for one defendant results in triple-murder conviction

Two mistrials were declared last week, on two successive days, after Derek Hubbard reportedly created a courtroom disturbance on Monday and then created another disturbance and attacked his public defender in court on Tuesday, in front of prospective jurors.

But after a third trial this week a Missouri jury convicted the 49-year-old on Wednesday in the murders of his girlfriend, her cousin and the wife of a cousin during a November 2011 party, This time, the defendant wasn’t present, although he was allowed to watch a live feed of the proceedings on a closed-circuit television screen, according to the Kansas City Star, KCTV and KMBZ.

The courtroom disturbances centered on Hubbard’s claims that the Kansas City police chief, who was a childhood friend of one of the victims, was leading a conspiracy against the defendant, the KCTV article notes. There is no report of any injury to the public defender; news reports say Hubbard is accused of standing up during jury selection and moving toward him with outstretched arms.

Hubbard, who chose not to testify in his own defense, was represented at the final trial by public defender Curt Winegarner. The lawyer told jurors Wednesday that the defendant, while not present in the courtroom, “is a real live, flesh-and-blood human being whose life and future is in your hands:” Winegarten also said that two witnesses who testified that Hubbard was the shooter were lying, the Star reports.

Prosecutor Matt Moeder urged the jurors to use “common sense” in deciding the case.

Sentencing is scheduled for September. In addition to one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder, Hubbard was also convicted of three counts of armed criminal action. Because of the first-degree murder conviction, he is expected to get a life term.

Earlier Associated Press and Kansas City Star articles provide additional details.

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