In a session of judicial theater, the man accused of killing three Middle Eastern shopkeepers in Brooklyn last year was allowed Monday to fire his attorney and represent himself, despite the agreement of all parties that he was clearly confused.
Salvatore Perrone, who is accused of killing the shopkeepers — including two Jews — has no legal experience but he told Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus that his assigned lawyer was doing nothing to assist him in getting videos which he says could prove his innocence, the Daily News reported.
“I can’t do any worse than what he’s doing,” said Perrone, who lived alternately in Staten Island and Brooklyn and was caught last summer by his telltale duffle bag. “I can have 10 attorneys, but if the videos are erased, how can I prove my alibi?”
After an extended discussion, Marrus allowed defense lawyer William Martin to go.
“I officially relieve you from representing the defendant,” the judge told him. “Try not to smile.”
Martin indeed looked relieved when he left the courtroom.
“As you can see, reality is a problem in this case for Mr. Perrone,” Martin said. “There’s an adage that says, ‘a defendant who represents himself has a fool for a client.’”
Perrone, who was nicknamed “John Doe Duffel Bag” by police, is accused of killing Mohamed Gebeli, 65, an Egyptian Muslim, Isaac Kadare, Hy”d, 59, a Jewish émigré from Egypt, and Rahmatollah Vahidipour, Hy”d, 78, an Iranian Jew. The shops form a triangle about four miles apart, with addresses that contain the number eight.
Perrone, who said he was a member of the “Palestinian section of the CIA,” appeared to provide fodder for the prosecution Monday. He said that he was charged with six murders and could face the death penalty. In fact, the maximum he could get is life without parole if convicted on three murders.
“You are very confused when it comes to attorney issues,” Marrus said, attempting to persuade Perrone to change his mind.
But the defendant was convinced that videos would show him descending into the subway system at the time of one of the murders, and not surfacing until after the murder was committed.
Melissa Carvajal, the state prosecutor, said that there are no cameras at the subway entrance Perrone referenced. Conversely, there are 127 surveillance video and nearly 1,000 police reports placing him in the vicinity of the murder, she said.