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“I’m in cuffs:” Man admits to killing 2, now acts as his own attorney ahead of trial

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MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee man who admitted killing two men several years ago gets to argue his case once again -- and try to win his freedom. Robert Tatum wanted to represent himself. He did just that on Friday, January 12th -- but the hearing did not last long.

Tatum was wheeled into court, restrained in a wheelchair and wearing a stun belt and handcuffs. He was convicted of killing Kyle Ippoliti and Rahim Abdella, his two roommates, in Milwaukee in 2010. During that case, he wanted to represent himself in court. An appeals court agreed and dismissed his prior convictions.

Kyle Ippoliti

Rahim Abdella

Now, Tatum gets that chance to be his own lawyer in a new trial.

Robert Tatum

"I'm in cuffs and a wheelchair. So I have no access to retrieving my paperwork in the box away from me. So I can't go in there and reference it," Tatum said.

The judge ruled the bailiffs could uncuff one of Tatum's hands. However, the bailiffs were under of the sheriff not to.

Tatum kept arguing he could not present his case restrained. He also argued he wanted to question the judge and prosecutor who previously were involved in his conviction. The judge said 'no.'

"I'm going to request your recusal, your disqualification based on the fact I can't get a fair hearing on this," Tatum said.

"Your request is denied," the judge said.

"Now you've made a decision, which requires you to dismiss yourself. Because under the State vs. Gudgeon, you can't make a determination before you hear the facts," Tatum said.

While Tatum continued arguing...

"Now you're mad because I'm making these determinations, trying to abdicate my rights," Tatum said.

"Stop talking," said the judge. "You are annoying me because you are not listening."

Robert Tatum

The judge ordered that Tatum be taken back to the jail -- and the hearing will be rescheduled for next week.

Tatum's trial is set to begin on Monday, January 29th.

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