Convicted killer's effort to end appeals is rejected Thanos wants to fire public defenders

August 11, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- Convicted killer John Frederick Thanos appeared in Garrett County Circuit Court yesterday, irritated about having to leave the comfort of his Supermax prison cell in Baltimore to say what he has been saying for some time: He wants to fire his public defenders and file no more appeals.

Thanos, who was given three death sentences for killing three teen-agers during a 1990 crime spree, told Judge Fred A. Thayer he was "embarrassed" and "humiliated" by being driven in chains to Garrett County. He also complained about having to undergo a body-cavity search.

As unhappy as he was when he arrived yesterday, Thanos was even more unhappy when he left the courtroom.

Judge Thayer refused to give Thanos his wish, instead ordering state psychiatrists to evaluate him to determine whether he is mentally competent to waive his constitutional rights to counsel and routine appeals.

"See what you caused," Thanos told Thomas Saunders, the public defender who argued for the competency evaluation yesterday.

The Baltimore County state's attorney's office and the attorney general's office requested yesterday's hearing. They wanted Thanos to declare his intentions in court, on the record.

He obliged, saying he wanted "no further review" of his case. "I've tried to distance myself from this whole process from the beginning. . . . I don't want to see no more psychiatrists, who don't know any more than I do."

The logical result of Thanos' ending his appeals is that he could be executed in eight weeks. He would become the first person executed in Maryland since 1961.

But Thanos said he doesn't want to die. He merely wants nothing more to do with the judicial system.

"What I desire is to not be in these damn courtrooms," he said. "If they're implying that I want to die, they're damn wrong."

Judge Thayer said he could not allow Thanos to waive his rights until after he has been evaluated by professionals.

Thanos, purporting to represent himself, argued that since he was found competent to stand trial and since "nothing has changed," he ought to be competent enough to fire his attorneys and stop his appeals.

Judge Thayer disagreed and said that after the review -- within a week to 30 days -- he would hold another hearing.

If Thanos is found competent, he could fire his attorneys and waive his appeal rights.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.