MARTINEZ -- Nathan Burris, who admittedly killed two people at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in 2009, wants his death penalty trial to "hurry up" so he can "go watch basketball."
The 49-year-old Richmond man, who is acting as his own attorney in his ongoing Contra Costa County Superior Court trial, has indicated several times that he wishes to plead guilty. But he hasn't.
"When I said I did it, I did it. So what," Burris said after the prosecution rested Wednesday. "What are we wasting time for?"
Burris stalked and killed his ex-girlfriend Deborah Ann Ross, 51, and Golden Gate bus driver Ersie "Chuckie" Everette, 58, on Aug. 11, 2009, because he was angry over his breakup with Ross and jealous of her friendship with Everette, according to the prosecution.
Everette, a San Leandro resident, was fatally shot in the face and chest in the toll plaza parking lot after Burris slashed the tires on his truck. Ross, a Caltrans toll booth operator from Richmond, was gunned down in her toll booth moments after her friend was slain.
Two special allegations attached to Burris' murder charges -- lying in wait and multiple murders -- made him eligible for death penalty prosecution. He's scheduled to begin presenting his defense Thursday morning.
The guilt phase of the trial has been moving fast since the prosecutor gave his opening statement Oct. 24 -- mostly because Burris asks few or no questions during the cross-examination of
Like on Wednesday, as a pathologist testified about his findings during the autopsies of Ross and Everette, the only question Burris asked the doctor is whether the gunshot wounds were "consistent with good shooting." Siblings of Ross and Everette shook their heads in disgust.
Several audience members were temporarily ordered out of the courtroom Tuesday when they reacted to a Burris outburst in which he cursed the victims and their families.
"I don't care about them. They are shot. They are dead ... (Expletive) their families," Burris shouted, at which point the judge cleared the courtroom.
Burris on Wednesday morning asked for a mistrial based on his outburst. He asked the judge, "Can't I just plead guilty?"
He could -- but not while the judge was proceeding on the mistrial motion. He could have requested a change of plea afterward, but he didn't, maybe because he's acting as his own attorney without any legal training, as is his constitutional right.
If Burris is convicted by jury of capital murder or because he changes his plea, there would still be a penalty phase trial at which the jury would be asked to choose between the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility or parole.
Outside Kennedy's courtroom Wednesday, some of the victims' family members told Harold Jewett, chief assistant district attorney, that they want the latter because they think Burris will suffer more among the general prison population than in a private cell on Death Row in California, where executions are few and far between because of legal challenges.
Jewett invited them to his office to speak in private.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.