‘I want to represent myself:’ Robert Tatum gets chance to prove his innocence in double homicide

Robert Tatum

MILWAUKEE -- The man accused of killing Rahim Abdella and Kyle Ippoliti back in 2010 gets a new trial. Robert Tatum was wheeled into the courtroom on Monday, Jan. 29, restrained in a wheelchair, but wearing a suit. Tatum is now acting as his own attorney.

"The court, or the state, is continuously, and intentionally violating my rights over and over again in regards to these proceedings," Tatum said.

Tatum started to make his case in front of the judge on Monday. He said this new trial is about setting the record straight in a way his former attorney was not able to.

"Remove her off my case. That, in a way, was the reason why they overturned my case -- is because I thought she was inadequate, which is why I want to represent myself," Tatum said.

Robert Tatum

Before jury selection got underway, the judge allowed both sides to express concerns for how the new trial was going to work. The judge made it clear that he was going to be stern but fair.

Judge Mark Sanders

"Any time that any litigant is in my court, either the defendant or the plaintiff, that they view the process as being fair. Not just one where they are heard and have the opportunity to argue, but where the arguments are given the weight that they are entitled to," said Judge Mark Sanders.

The judge stressed that both sides need to respect his stance on certain matters -- even if they do not get their way.

"The fact that one's arguments aren't successful doesn't mean that one's arguments aren't being heard or effectively evaluated," Judge Sanders said.

Kyle Ippoliti

Rahim Abdella

While the first day seemed to go smoothly enough, the hard part lays ahead of Tatum. A criminal complaint details the statements of numerous witnesses in the case. Also, a man identified as Tatum's brother says Tatum admitted to shooting Ippoliti and Abdella with a shotgun. Police say it happened in Ippoliti's house on Richards St. A roommate -- Tatum -- was being kicked out for not paying rent.

In the original complaint, Tatum confessed to police. Tatum says there is a police and government conspiracy against him.

Tatum's trial resumes on Tuesday.