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Decatur man facing murder charge fails in bid to fire his lawyer, represent himself

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DECATUR — Accused Decatur murderer Tyreco S. Garry’s attempt to fire his defense lawyer and represent himself didn’t get very far in Macon County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Garry, 26, who is pleading not guilty to charges ranging from murder, attempted murder and armed violence, was told by Presiding Judge Thomas Griffith that he would have to answer some basic questions before dispensing with court-appointed lawyer Diane Couri’s services.

Prosecutors have said they would proceed first with the armed violence charge and Griffith asked Garry if he understood the Class X felony carried a prison range of from 15 to 30 years.

“No, I don’t understand,” replied Garry.

“What is that you don’t understand?” asked the judge.

Garry’s muttered reply was not clear and the judge told him he must answer the question. “I am going to ask you these questions and you are going to answer the questions, or I am not going to allow you to represent yourself, OK?” said Griffith. “It’s real simple how it’s going to work.”

But Garry continued to state he didn’t understand and at one point attempted to read a statement about the court’s authority to try him.

Griffith cut him off and, as Garry continued to protest, told him his trial would go ahead with Couri as his lawyer.

“The defendant only wants to read to the court a statement that he doesn't believe the court has jurisdiction,” said Griffith, speaking for the official court record. “Show, therefore, the defendant cannot knowingly and willingly waive his right to counsel and show that the defendant’s letter of termination (of his lawyer) is denied.”

Garry continued to protest as he was led from the courtroom and could be heard saying: “She will not be my lawyer… she will not be my lawyer and you will not be on the bench.”

Garry’s murder charge dates to the night of Dec. 22, 2020, when prosecutors accuse him of ambushing and killing 20-year-old Jayleon Cummings in a hail of bullets in the 200 block of West Leafland Avenue. He is also charged with the attempted murder of a 16-year-old male who had been with Cummings but managed to escape.

A sworn affidavit from Decatur police said the murder and attempted murder occurred during a series of shootings that December during an “ongoing feud between the East and South Side (street) gangs.”

Garry is being held in custody at the Macon County Jail with bail set at $3.1 million, meaning he must post a bond of $310,000 to be released. He will face trial on Jan. 10.

This is the second recent case in which a defendant questioned the authority of the court to try him. Thomas L. Boone, 29, had said the legal system could not prosecute him and he was allowed to represent himself at his trial for attempted murder after he shot a woman in the stomach. A jury convicted him on the charge Nov. 16 and he is due to be sentenced Dec. 21.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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