Defendant on trial for Troy quadruple murder questions co-defendant at trial

A bizarre and unique murder trial is underway in Rensselaer County.

It’s not every day when you see co-defendants in a murder trial become adversaries in the courtroom. That’s what’s happening.

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The defendant, James White, stands accused of killing four people, including two kids, in Lansingburgh back in December 2017. The victims were brutally tied up and stabbed to death inside their basement apartment in Lansingburgh.

On Monday, White, acting as his own defense attorney, began questioning his co-defendant, a man who has already been convicted of committing the crime.

Under cross-examination, Justin Mann was both agitated and belligerent, although eventually apologizing to the court for his behavior, telling Judge Debra Young he’s experiencing emotional difficulties.

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Speaking of difficulty, White, the co-defendant acting as his own defense attorney, is having a hard time putting together his case, trying to find inconsistencies in Mann’s testimony.

This exchange did not appear to be helpful to Mr. White.

Asking the question, "Was anyone standing over the victim with a knife?" To which Justin Mann responded, "Yeah, you."

Then, showing Mann a picture, asking him, "Do you see a red pillow in the photograph?"

"You used the pillow, so the blood wouldn’t spurt. You said it yourself," adding, "I want to know, why did you kill her?"

"At the time the first victim laid down, did I have a knife in my hand," Mann responded, "yes."

"I think it’s fair to say that it is always best to leave any task to a professional. I don’t think that there’s been any effect on fairness per se. I just feel that…the easiest path would be if we had a trained defender there with our defendant today," said Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly.

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Several family members of the murder victims have been in the courtroom to observe the trial.

It began the first week of November. It is expected to last into early December.