HANFORD — In an unusual development, Todd Pate, who is accused of the 2013 killing of his wife, Melanie Pate, has decided to represent himself in his upcoming jury trial.
Phil Esbenshade, Kings County managing deputy district attorney, said Pate filed a waiver on Wednesday, thus waiving his right to counsel, among other rights.
He said this means Pate will make his own opening and closing arguments, call his own witnesses and cross-examine them. Adam Nelson will still be Pate’s standing attorney, but he will essentially be on his own during the trial, Esbenshade said.
Esbenshade said the DA’s office doesn’t anticipate this new development to interfere with the set trial date of April 23. He also said this change doesn’t procedurally alter the trial and it will proceed like any other normal trial.
Pate’s trial in August 2016 ended in a hung jury and mistrial because one of the 12 jurors felt the evidence did not support a conviction of first-degree murder.
Pate previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, but in February 2017, he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Esbenshade said Pate’s plea has not changed and said the guilt phase of the trial will begin first, followed by the sanity portion of the trial.