California defendant doesn't participate in trial

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Updated: 1/23 2:38 pm

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — A former California Death Row inmate has legal experts scratching their heads after he decided not to participate in his weeklong murder retrial even though he was serving as his own attorney.

The Record of Stockton reports that Blufford Hayes Jr. declined to make a closing argument on Wednesday, continuing not to put up a defense. The case is now in the hands of a jury.

The 58-year-old Hayes was convicted of the slaying more than 30 years ago of a Stockton motel manager, Vinod Patel, and sentenced to death. A federal appeals court overturned the conviction in 2005, ruling that the prosecutor had made a secret deal with an informant.

Legal experts say Hayes's decision not to cross-examine witnesses at his retrial makes it highly unlikely he will avoid conviction.

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