Man who killed elderly South Dakota woman in her home says he's being portrayed as a 'monster'

  • Updated: June 20, 2013 - 8:00 AM

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A man who killed an elderly woman in her South Dakota home and stole her car as part of an alleged plot to assassinate President Barack Obama says he's tired of being portrayed as a monster.

James McVay, 43, spoke out several times during a Wednesday court hearing in Sioux Falls before consulting with his lawyers on the advice of the judge and issuing a courtroom apology.

McVay accused prosecutors of cherry-picking information to make him appear dangerous, and said news reporters "are deciding whether I live or die."

"I'm tired of it being conveyed to the public as if I'm some kind of a monster," McVay said.

Judge Peter Lieberman told McVay he will have plenty of opportunities to address the jurors who will sentence him, and that Wednesday's hearing was not the proper forum for the issues he raised, according to the Argus Leader newspaper (http://argusne.ws/1avy0JL ).

McVay last year pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder in the July 2011 killing of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein in her home. He could face the death penalty. Several issues have held up his sentencing, including arguments over the appropriateness of the death penalty for a mentally ill defendant.

Wednesday's hearing was held on technical matters involving McVay's defense team and a deposition of his mother. He is due back in court in late July for a hearing on a defense request to suppress statements he made in the days following his arrest.

Authorities say McVay was under the influence of cough syrup and alcohol on July 2, 2011, when he climbed under Schein's slightly opened garage door, entered her house, woke her and slashed her throat before stealing her car. He was caught the same day in Madison, Wis., where he told investigators and a television reporter of his plan to kill Obama on a golf course.

McVay's lawyers say he was still under the influence when he made the statements.

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