By Gerren Keith Gaynor
Published March 18, 2019
The Australian man accused of killing 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand last week has reportedly fired his attorney and has chosen to represent himself in court instead.
The 28-year-old suspect’s decision to be his own legal representation is driving speculation that he might try to use his trial as a platform to share his extremist views, the Washington Post reported.
The alleged shooter, who Fox News is not naming, has been charged with one count of murder in the attacks on Friday, which became New Zealand's deadliest mass shooting in modern history. He is expected to face additional charges at his next court appearance on April 5.
Richard Peters, his former attorney, said that his former client appeared “lucid” and “not mentally unstable.”
The suspect described himself as a white supremacist in a 74-page manifesto emailed to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s office just minutes before the attack.
He reportedly grew up in New South Wales, Australia and worked as a personal trainer. Within a year of his father’s death in 2010, he quit his job, invested in cryptocurrency and reportedly began traveling the world using his inheritance and money from bitcoin investments.
The suspect’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, said the death of his father took a toll on him. After his world travels, she said, he returned home a changed man.
Katherine Lam and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.