Convicted killer Pierre Haobsh — who was found guilty in November of the triple homicide of Santa Barbara herbalist Henry Han; Han’s wife, Jennie Yu; and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily Han — was granted a request to represent himself after applying to drop his legal counsel in February.
Haobsh was transported from Santa Barbara’s Main Jail to appear in Judge Brian Hill’s Department 2 courtroom Tuesday, shackled and in a county-issue orange jumpsuit, four months after being found guilty of the three murders.
He was originally scheduled to be sentenced on January 24, but several continuances and the Faretta motion to represent himself have pushed the date back each time. The latest delay allowed for a doctor to find whether Haobsh was fit to represent himself. With the doctor’s ruling, Judge Hill granted the request, though he heavily advised against it.
“I don’t find anything that could state he is not capable of representing himself,” Hill said. He walked Haobsh through the downsides of self-representation, and said since he was already found guilty, he had “limited legal avenues” for a change in verdict or lighter sentence. He stopped several times to make sure Haobsh understood the risks of continuing without public defender Christine Voss at his side.
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“There’s a lot of downsides, more than you probably realize,” Hill said. “To proceed against two experienced prosecutors is ill-advised.”
When Haobsh requested the court provide him with access to a laptop and two private investigators, the judge reiterated that he would not be granted any extra time or provisions.
“You’re not going to get any special treatment from the court,” Hill said. The only courtesy Hill provided Haobsh was one final continuance for sentencing. Haobsh was scheduled to appear on March 28, but with the new developments, Hill granted him an extra four weeks to file any motions he needed to. “We’re not gonna continue it again — I’ll make that clear,” Hill said.
Haobsh spoke only a few times, seeming to have plans to reintroduce new evidence. Like his fanciful testimony, he said that there was “discovery evidence” of text messages that would show involvement with “government agents” and clear his name.
Hill said Haobsh would have to provide an account of what the evidence would show, but sentencing would likely proceed as planned. Haobsh faces three life sentences at his next court date on April 15.