GOSHEN — During his first day of trial Monday in Circuit Court, an Elkhart man waived his right to a defender.
Hervey Clanton, 25, of 921 Madison St., Elkhart, is charged with two counts of dealing in cocaine, three counts of neglect of a dependent and one count of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
Following jury selection, which lasted until 2:30 p.m., and opening statements in the afternoon, Clanton said through his attorney, Peter Todd, that he wished to defend himself.
Clanton was required to sign a waiver of attorney and a demand to proceed pro se. Judge Terry Shewmaker explained the disadvantage Clanton would be if he decided to represent himself.
“This many be the worst decision you’ve ever made in your life,” he added.
However, Clanton insisted on representing himself. Todd was appointed standby defender.
Clanton was arrested June 13 at 1212 Midtown Court, Apt. 84, after officers from the Drug Unit, Uniform Division and Community Affairs Bureau conducted a short-term investigation that led to Clanton’s warrant.
Also arrested at that same location was Chelsey Nusbaum, who was charged with five counts of neglect of a dependent and one count of maintaining a common nuisance.
Nusbaum recently pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect and was released on Jan. 17 because she had already served her sentence through credit time in jail. She has been ordered to appear as a witness for Clanton’s trial.
Two witnesses were called Monday afternoon. Detective Jeff Eaton explained to the court that the Elkhart Police Department Drug Unit conducted two controlled purchases of cocaine on May 29, 2012, and June 6, 2012. Eaton told the court that on June 12, the Drug Unit had a source acting undercover go to Clanton’s apartment in an attempt to buy more cocaine and was told by Clanton that he would have more the next day.
The source acting undercover also testified in court Monday, who explained the procedure in controlled purchases.
Today, trial continues at 8:30 a.m. with more testimonies.