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Nathaniel Abraham argues with judge at arraignment

George Hunter
The Detroit News
Nathaniel Abraham argued with the judge at his arraignment August 10, 2018.

Pontiac — Nathaniel Abraham, who has been in the criminal justice system since he killed a man at age 11, offered legal advice to the judge presiding over his arraignment Friday on assault and indecent exposure charges.

Arraignments are usually fairly mundane affairs, with little said other than the judge formally reading charges and the defendant pleading guilty or not guilty. But during Friday's hearing, which lasted almost 11 minutes, Abraham argued with the judge while waving his arms and expressing disdain for the court process.

Read more: Dash cam video shows Nathaniel Abraham arrest

When 50th District Judge Michael Martinez informed Abraham, 32, he was being charged with three counts of assaulting a police officer stemming from an alleged incident Wednesday involving Oakland County Sheriff's deputies that ended with the officers zapping him with a Taser, the defendant expressed surprise.

"So three counts for one charge?" asked Abraham, who spoke to the judge from the Oakland County Jail via video. "How is that even possible?"

"Well, that happens all the time," Martinez said.

Judge Michael C. Martinez listens during the hearing for Nathaniel Abraham on August 10, 2018.

"That's double jeopardy," Abraham insisted. "You can't do that."

Abraham was charged with assaulting/resisting a police officer causing injury, a four-year felony; and two counts of felony assault/resisting a police officer, which each carry two-year prison terms.

Abraham also was charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure, after a Pontiac woman said Monday he exposed his genitals to her. 

The charges brought Friday are the latest in a litany of legal troubles for Abraham, who made national headlines in 1997, when at age 11 he fatally shot 18-year-old Ronnie Green in the head with a stolen .22-caliber rifle. 

An Oakland County judge sentenced Abraham, who was in the sixth grade at the time, for second-degree murder as a juvenile. He was released from prison in 2007 at age 21.

 A year later, Abraham was back in trouble after undercover officers caught him dealing ecstasy pills from the trunk of his car.  He was found guilty and sent back to prison to serve a 4- 20-year sentence.

While in prison, Abraham was accused of assaulting two corrections officers in Adrian.

Abraham was released from parole in June, according to state officials.

During Friday's hearing, Abraham attempted several times to explain what happened during the alleged skirmish with sheriff's deputies, prompting the judge to insist he keep quiet.

"Will I get out on bond?" Abraham asked a few minutes after the arraignment commenced. "If I get a bond, I’m going to get my own lawyer.

"I got a question: They released me (from jail) on Monday (in the indecent exposure case). I bonded out. They told me that my hearing was the 20th. Then my mother, not the court, told me I had a court date Wednesday. And so then your officers —"

"Stop, stop," the judge interjected. "Don’t say anything about the case. This is being recorded so it can be used against you."

"I don’t even understand why I have these charges, man," Abraham replied.

"Again: remember what I said: Don’t say anything about the case," the judge warned. "It’s not going to help your situation."

Martinez began to read the indecent exposure charges against Abraham. "This is a misdemeanor," the judge said.

"According to who?" Abraham shot back.

"The complainant," the judge said.

"The officer?"

"No, the civilian witness," Martinez explained.

Abraham gestured toward the deputy who was guarding him. "That could be him," the defendant said. "That could be anybody. That could be you."

Martinez responded: "That's why we go to court: To see who it is."

When the judge suggested Abraham ask for a court-appointed attorney, the defendant replied: "I already have a lawyer."

"Who's your lawyer?" the judge asked.

Abraham said something unintelligible.

"Who?" Martinez asked again.

"I don't want to speak," Abraham said. "Am I being sentenced or what? I don’t understand why your officers —"

"Stop, stop, stop," the judge interrupted. "They're not my officers; they're the police department's."

Abraham cocked his head. "They're all the same," he said.

Bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety for the assault charges, and $5,000, 10 percent for the indecent exposure charge.

A probable cause hearing on the assault charges is scheduled for Aug. 21; while an Aug. 28 hearing on the indecent exposure charges was set.
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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN