A man accused of murder is acting as his own attorney -- and he's cross-examining a woman he was convicted of stalking 17 years ago.
Waseem Daker, 35, is on trial in Marietta, Georgia for the murder of Karmen Smith, who was found strangled to death in 1996. Her 5-year-old son was stabbed multiple times during the alleged attack, but survived.
Smith was the roommate of Loretta Spencer Blatz, now 47, a woman Daker met while playing paintball and attempted to date.
When Blatz showed little interest, Daker began to stalk her. He called her incessantly, followed her, and even broke into her home and hid inside on several occasions.
Daker was first arrested for stalking Blatz in 1995, but she dropped the charges after Daker promised to seek psychological help, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After Smith's murder in 1996, Daker was arrested again, convicted of stalking Blatz, and served 10 years in prison before his release in 2006.
Police were unable to connect Daker to Smith's death until 2009, when DNA evidence placed him at the scene of the crime.
The DNA evidence led authorities to charge Daker with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking and burglary, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts and is now acting as his own counsel, having dismissed his court-appointed lawyers.
Part of his strategy has been to grill Blatz, his previous stalking victim, on the witness stand. Prosecutors claim that Daker strangled Smith because she was interfering in his pursuit of Blatz.
Daker claims that he never stalked Blatz, and that the two were actually a romantic couple, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
He also claims that he never had any reason to harm Smith or her son, according to ABC News.
In the courtroom on Friday, Daker attempted to discredit Blatz. He pointed out that many of the things she previously testified Daker did -- including running her car off the road, hanging underwear on her apartment doorknob, and threatening to kill her daughter -- were never reported to police.
“Many things may not be on this report,” Blatz tearfully told the court. “My intention was to get [the stalking] to stop. At the time I didn’t know it would lead to what it… what it led to.”
Blatz added that she had no idea she would be testifying in a murder trial 17 years later.
“I didn’t realize this was going to turn into murder,” she told the court. “My God, I mean, if I would have known I would have taken notes.”
Smith's son, Nick, who survived the stabbings and is now in his early 20s, is expected to testify this week.
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