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Washington child rape trial underway without defendant

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PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — A child rape trial is underway in Washington, but the defendant has not attended the opening statements or testimony after multiple courtroom outbursts.

The Kitsap Sun reports that 45-year-old Melford Warren Jr. is charged with nine different crimes, including the assault and rape of children.

Warren’s bizarre behavior prompted requests for psychological evaluations. A psychologist interviewed Warren but found him competent to stand trial, meaning he is aware of the charges against him and can participate in his own defense.

A judge recently ruled a mistrial and seated a new jury in the case. Warren hasn’t appeared in court since.

His attorney, Adrian Pimentel, says he visits Warren in jail every day to ask if he will follow rules of decorum, but he has declined so far.