Michel Escoto struggles to formulate questions in murder trial

Prosecutor appears flustered by every question asked by man acting as own attorney

MIAMI - A man accused of killing his wife less than a week after they were married struggled to formulate questions as he defended himself in his murder trial Thursday.

Michel Escoto is accused of using a tire iron to bludgeon his new bride, Wendy Trapaga, in 2002 to collect her $1 million life insurance policy.

Escoto, who is acting as his own attorney, had a difficult time getting through his cross examination of a crime scene technician. That's because his line of questioning -- when he was able to get his words across -- led to more sustained objections than he could handle.

"I'm having a hard time, judge, sitting here and thinking this is normal," Escoto said.

Assistant state attorney Gail Levine appeared flustered by every question Escoto asked.

Already, Escoto has cross-examined his former mother-in-law and ex-girlfriend, who testified that she helped Escoto plan to kill his wife. Prosecutors offered her immunity in exchange for her testimony.

Defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh told Local 10 he has a theory as to why Escoto would defend himself.

"His ego continues to tell him that he's a veteran trial lawyer and he has those abilities," Eiglarsh said. "The problem is his ego is not his amigo."

Escoto, who wasn't charged until 2005, faces life in prison if convicted.

The trial was expected to last several more weeks.

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