Musso appears in court with special mask to prevent spitting - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Man appears in court wearing mask to prevent spitting

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Dustin Musso Dustin Musso

By Jim Shannon - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The man accused of killing his own grandfather, setting his house on fire, and then stealing his truck was back in court Wednesday with a special mask to stop him from spitting.

This time Judge Mike Erwin had to decide whether Dustin Musso is capable of aiding in his own defense.

During his court appearance, Dustin Musso first wanted to fire his lawyer. Then he tried to talk to his sister. Neither of which was very successful.

Candice Musso has been to most of her brother's court hearings. When asked what Dustin was saying to her Candice responded, "I have no clue. He had that thing over his face and I couldn't hear him."

That thing was an anti-spitting shield attached to his face. Court security outfitted him with that device after a series of incidents in which he spit at judges, prosecutors and fellow inmates during previous court appearances

Among other things those incidents prompted Wednesday's sanity hearing.

"I believe a lot of it is a show on his part. He has a history of this," said Hillar Moore. "Obviously everyone knows and he's been evaluated. He has two very good lawyers. The public defender's office is well staffed with lawyers who know exactly what they're doing and he needs to listen to his counsel."

A team of psychiatrists met with Musso in prison. They concluded Dustin Musso is able to assist in his own defense.

"And as they gave testimony for me today it involved much more than the three minutes they spent with my client. The amount of the voluminous records they examined and that was the basis for their testimony," said Defense Attorney Nelvil Hollingsworth.

For Candice most of the legal-ease is just that. It is back and forth between lawyers. She however remains torn between two loyalties in a vicious set of circumstances.

"Not good. Not good at all. It's hard because it was my grandpa but it's my brother too. No I don't really know how to feel I still love my brother but I loved my grandpa, too," said Candice

Peter Musso was found dead in his burned-out house in May of 2009. Dustin Musso is scheduled to be back in court in April.


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