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Pinellas man won't represent himself in death penalty case after all

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Published Apr. 8, 2014

LARGO — Craig Wall, who is facing the death penalty, originally wanted to represent himself this week on charges that he killed his girlfriend and their baby in 2010.

On Monday, he said he wants lawyers to handle his case after all. The change means Wall's trial will be delayed until October.

Wall had two experienced attorneys serving as "standby counsel," meaning they were available to assist him but not officially be his attorneys.

Because of Wall's change of heart, they now are in charge of his defense. One of those attorneys, Bjorn Brunvand, said Monday he needed more time to prepare because there are numerous legal tasks he would have done during the past two months if he had been officially handling the case.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip J. Federico said he was reluctant to delay the case, but felt there was no alternative.

Wall is accused of killing his 5-week-old son in 2010.

Then, several days later, he stabbed his girlfriend Laura Taft to death, prosecutors say.

"It'll be almost five years," said Taft's mother, Rhonda Lyon-Buttita. "It's unfortunate but we've got to go with what they think is right."

Taft's father, John Bredeson, said he was angry at Wall "manipulating the system. That's all this is, is him playing games."