Hutto lashes out in court - - The News for South Mississippi

Murder defendant says shackles 'irritate' skin

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Hutto insisted on cross-examining some witnesses Thursday. Hutto insisted on cross-examining some witnesses Thursday.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A capital murder case defendant, known for his abrasive outbursts and odd behavior in court, entered court Friday morning with a limp. James Hutto told Judge Bill Gowan that he needed to be excused for the day because the shackles on his legs had been irritating his skin.

Judge Gowan ordered a two-hour break so a doctor and nurse could examine the accused killer. Gowan wants to proceed with the case, and plans to continue proceedings Saturday and possibly on Memorial Day.

Hutto is on trial for the 2010 murder of 81-year-old Ethel Winstead Simpson of Clinton.

Hutto spent part of Thursday morning at the bench with his own attorneys, and with prosecutors, one of which he complimented.

"I know you've got a job to do. You're doing a pretty good job," he said.

Thursday the prosecutors and defense team discussed how to handle Hutto's outburst in court the previous day regarding some evidence in the case. When the jury came back in, Judge Bill Gowan advised them to disregard what Hutto said in the outburst from Wednesday.

In yet another bold move, Hutto insisted on cross-examining some witnesses Thursday, including Jason Wilson and Jimmy Wilson. Jimmy Wilson testified that Hutto tried to sell him the Mercedes in which he allegedly stole from Simpson.

"I could tell he was nervous. He tried to sell a car to me. I didn't buy [it]," Wilson testified. He went on to say that Hutto first tried to sell the vehicle for $500, then called back the next day and offered to sell it for $200.

Wilson also testified that he had never bought a vehicle from Hutto.

During Hutto's cross-examination of Wilson, he yelled, "You've bought numerous cars from me." Prosecutors objected to the statement, calling it irrelevant.

Hutto's Great-Aunt, Lois Rutledge of Alabama, also took the stand. She testified that Hutto drove up in a Mercedes in 2010.

"I said 'where did you get a car like that?' He told me that a lady had went on a two-week cruise, and let him drive it. I said, 'she's a mighty trusty lady.' He never told me her name," Rutledge told the jury.

Rutledge also testified that Hutto took her for a ride in the car, because he wanted her to get him some money.

"He said, 'you wanna see a dead body in the trunk of the car?' I said, 'h-e-double-l no,'" Rutledge said, adding that Hutto opened the trunk and she saw some duffel bags and a box, but did not see a body.

Simpson was killed between 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2010 and 1:15 a.m. Sept. 14, 2010. Prosecutors narrowed down the time frame Wednesday in the capital murder trial.

Surveillance video played for jurors Wednesday showed Hutto with Simpson at the Riverwalk Casino in Vicksburg. They pulled up in Simpson's Mercedes. They played the slot machines and visited one of the restaurants, then left around 11:30 p.m..

Later, Hutto was seen on video from the Comfort Inn in Clinton, entering his motel room wearing the print shirt he wore at Riverwalk. Six minutes 45 seconds later, he left the motel room wearing a cap and a Nike shirt.

He's was seen at the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, alone, pulling up in the Mercedes at 1:15 am.

Hutto is accused of killing Simpson, dumping her body near Edwards, and stealing her car.

Tuesday, Hutto showed up for his capital murder trial for the first time and interrupted the proceedings, angry that judge Bill Gowan decided against the admissibility of certain evidence.

"None of that matters? F***. I don't give a f*** about no death penalty. All you m*** f*** go straight to hell. All of ya," he said to those gathered in the courtroom.

Judge Gowan issued Hutto a stern warning.

"There will be no further outbursts, otherwise you won't be in this trial, you will be watching it on TV," he said.

Hutto stayed reasonably quiet after that, as a string of witnesses took the stand discussing what happened the day Simpson disappeared.

According to testimony, Hutto, a convicted sex offender from Alabama, befriended Simpson at the Baptist Health Plex on Sept. 13, 2010 and told her he was sick to gain sympathy. Simpson later told her brother about Hutto.

"He wasn't as old as she was. He had prostate cancer. He wasn't gonna take treatment. He was gonna try to buy some land in Madison County," Thomas Winstead testified.

Hutto also faces murder and attempted murder charges in Alabama. He's accused of killing his aunt and stabbing another man.

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