Satanist finds God as slaying trial begins

Lazaro Galindo — accused killer, amateur attorney and until today a proclaimed Satanist — told a Miami-Dade Circuit judge today that he recently found God and was abandoning his plan to don special Satanic garb in court.

During a pretrial hearing Thursday, Galindo, who is defending himself, was still professing his belief in the Church of Satan and insisting the First Amendment gives him the right to wear an all-black outfit, a cap he says is related to his religion and special Satanic jewelry, including a pentagram medallion and a ring.

Circuit Judge Peter Adrien had granted Galindo’s request to wear the special outfit, but cautioned the clothing and accessories might put off jurors.

Just before he began picking a jury this morning in his murder trial, Galindo told the court: “I’ve converted myself over to God. I converted myself to God not too long ago.”

Galindo is charged with stabbing, beating and carving up the body of Argelio Gonzalez, 44, in 2000. Gonzalez’s body was discovered in a Brownsville park after children noticed a leg sticking out of a garbage can.

Galindo and Gonzalez loved the same woman, according to Assistant State Attorney Herbert E. Walker III.

Galindo has fired a series of attorneys since his arrest several days after Gonzalez’s body was identified. He finally decided to represent himself, with attorney Tom Cobitz standing by to advise him on the law.

Cobitz said Galindo has called several doctors who treated him after he was arrested to testify on his behalf. He believes they will bolster his claim that police beat him until he confessed to a crime he now says he didn’t commit.

Galindo also denied having any mental problems but said he was taking medication to control flashbacks from when he used acid.

Jury selection began midmorning with a panel of 40 Miami-Dade residents.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday August 13, 2007.
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