During a brief hearing Monday morning, Conner Kobold, the 19-year-old Valparaiso man accused of strangling his mother, told Porter Superior Court Judge Michael Fish that he intended to to act as his own lawyer in his murder trial.
Fish has scheduled another hearing for Friday morning to determine whether Kobold is fit to represent himself.
“I will conduct a thorough investigation into your ability to represent yourself,” Fish told Kobold, who joined the court via Zoom from the Porter County Jail, wearing a black and white jail costume.
Valparaiso police were dispatched to the 1300 block of Diamond Boulevard at 3:48 p.m. Feb. 5 after Kobold, according to court documents, made a call saying, “I need you to send a police car right away. » When police arrived, Kobold was waving them down at the intersection of Goodrich Road and Diamond Boulevard.
He told police he had killed someone at the house on the corner, and police noted superficial scratches on his face. A woman, who has since been identified as her mother Shanelle Burns, 43, was found unconscious and not breathing in the living room.
She was taken to Northwest Health-Porter where medical staff found small ligature marks on her neck, according to charging documents. Medical staff believed she had suffered significant brain damage.
Burns died in hospital around 3:27 p.m. on February 7. Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted Friday by the Porter County Coroner’s Office show the cause of death was asphyxia secondary to manual strangulation and concluded it was a homicide.
Kobold faces two counts: murder, a Level 1 felony punishable by a possible sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted; and aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony punishable by a possible sentence of three to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
Charging documents say Burns sent Kobold an eviction letter outlining conditions he had to meet for a 30-day period to avoid eviction, including: finding full-time employment, cleaning his room and contribute to the cleanliness of common areas in the house.
Shelley Jones is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.
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