MIAMI -

A man accused of killing his wife less than a week after they were married has stepped aside as his own legal counsel.

Michel Escoto had his stand-by attorney, Terence Lenamon, take over in his murder trial before closing arguments began Monday.

Escoto is accused of killing his wife, Wendy Trapaga, in 2002 to collect her $1 million life insurance policy. He had been serving as his own attorney throughout the trial.

"He thinks he's smarter than everyone else," assistant state attorney Gail Levine said during her closing arguments.

Levine portrayed Escoto as a controlling, manipulative and greedy schemer who conspired with his ex-girlfriend, Yolanda Cerrillo, to kill his wife. She received immunity to testify against Escoto during the trial.

"The defendant, after thinking and planning, repeatedly beat, strangled and caused a heinous murder of Wendy Trapaga," Levine said.

Trapaga's mother was in the courtroom as Levine reminded jurors that Trapaga's body was found in a northwest Miami-Dade County warehouse parking lot.

"Wendy, she was a sitting duck -- quiet, pretty," Levine said. "She was his best choice ever."

Lenamon urged jurors not to rush to judgment.

"The law is the law," he told jurors. "Don't ever forget it."

Much of his closing arguments were directed at the prosecution.

"Win at any cost: Is that what this is about?" Lenamon said.

Defense attorney makes closing arguments in newlywed murder trial

DELAYS ON THE ONLY ROAD TO OR FROM KEY BISCAYNE. CLOSING ARGUMENT IN NEWLYWED MURDER TRIAL OF MICHEL ESCOTO. HE IS ACCUSED OF MURDERING HIS WIFE DAYS AFTER THEIR WEDDING TO COLLECT ON THEIR SEVEN-FIGURE INSURANCE POLICY. AND NOW ESCOTO GAVE UP TO HIS STANDBY LAWYER AFTER REPRESENTING HIMSELF FOR WEEKS. LOCAL10 CRIME SPECIALIST JOHN TURCHIN WITH MORE ON ESCOTO EATS DEFENSE TODAY. Reporter: THE MOVE CERTAINLY SURPRISED THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN COVERING THE TRIAL AS WELL AS MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE COURTROOM TO HAVE BEEN COMING DAILY, BUT WHAT HAPPENED THROUGH THE REST OF THE DAY, THE CLOSING ARGUMENTS, WELL, LET'S JUST SAY IT WAS A LOT MORE OF THE SAME. NO MATTER HOW MUCH I SCREAM AS AN ADVOCATE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WAVE MY HANDS OR SAY, VILLAIN, VILLAIN, VILLAIN, VILLAIN, BAD VILLAIN, VILLAIN, IT DOESN'T MAKE IT SO. Reporter: TERRY LENAMON CAME OUT WITH A VENGEANCE URGING JURORS NOT TO RUSH TO JUDGMENT, NOT TO BELIEVE THAT MICHEL ESCOTO DRUGGED, BEAT AND ESTRANGED WENDY TRAPAGA, HIS WIFE OF THREE DAYS AS THE STATE CONTENDS BEFORE DUMPING HER BODY IN A NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE PARKING LOT. THE LAW IS THE LAW. DON'T EVER FORGET IT. Reporter: TROUBLE IS OFTEN DURING HIS NEARLY THREE HOURS OF CLOSING ARGUMENTS, ESCOTO'S STANDBY AND NOW STAND-IN ATTORNEY SPENT MUCH OF HIS TIME ATTACKING THE PROSECUTOR. THE PROCEEDINGS VERY MANY BLING MUCH OF WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST MONTH, A STEADY STREAM OF NASTY EXCHANGES AND OBJECTIONS. MS. CELINE RESPONSIBLE FOR PRESENTING EVIDENCE. SHE PRESENTED YOLANDA -- OBJECTION. SUSTAINED. OBJECTION TO HIS TESTIMONY NOW. SUSTAINED. WIN AT ANY COST. IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT? Reporter: BUT IT WAS THE PROSECUTOR WHO HAD THE LAST WORD. ON REBUTTAL TELLING JURORS SHE'S FINE BEING THE TARGET. BECAUSE WENDY GOT NOTHING. IT'S OKAY. POUND ON ME. AND MAKE IT MY FAULT. BECAUSE FOR A PRETTY LONG TIME DURING THAT CLOSING I THOUGHT I KILLED WENDY. IT'S SOLELY, SOLELY ABOUT THIS DEFENDANT, MICHEL ESCOTO. DON'T TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE BALL. Reporter: THAT'S IT. CLOSING ARGUMENT ARE FINISHED. COURT IS RECESSED FOR 10 EVENING. THE JUDGE CALLING EVERYONE BACK AT 9:00 TOMORROW MORNING AT WHICH TIME SHE WILL CHARGE THE JURY AND THEN THEY WILL BEGIN DELIBERATING.

Levine had the last word, telling jurors in her rebuttal that she is OK being the target.

"When you got nothing, it's OK," Levine said. "Pound on me and make it my fault. Because for a pretty long time during that closing, I thought I killed Wendy."

Levine said the trial is "so, so about" Escoto.

"Don't take your eye off the ball," she said.