Judge Irked at Maxwell Arraignment

A Texas man accused of torturing a woman for nearly two weeks on a deer-skinning device returned to court Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey Allan Maxwell, 58, was arraigned Wednesday, a month after his indictment on one aggravated kidnapping count and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. Judge Trey Loftin told Maxwell that he may also face a charge of arson, though that case is currently under review by the grand jury.

Loftin was particularly annoyed that Maxwell had not yet hired an attorney, especially after the judge allowed him to use a phone book and phone to find an attorney after his last court appearance.

Maxwell's previous request for a public defender was denied after the judge noted that Maxwell's net worth is about $200,000.  Maxwell told the judge that he was trying to sell his home in order to raise funds for his defense.  To that end, Loftin temporarily appointed Maxwell an attorney, for only 20 days, whose sole job is helping Maxwell sell assets to raise money for his defense.

Loftin ordered that some of Maxwell's assets be transferred into a Parker County account to pay for his court-appointed attorney.  Further, Loftin threatened to have the county sue Maxwell to cover the cost of his defense if the funds aren't raised.

The attorney is not to begin building a defense for Maxwell, per the judge's order. If after 20 days Maxwell still hasn't hired an attorney, he'll be forced to represent himself.

Loftin said he "will not slow down the judicial process" due to Maxwell's failure to retain a lawyer.

Maxwell is being held in the Parker County Jail in Weatherford with bond set at $500,000.  His pretrial hearing, where he is expected to enter a plea, is set for June 23.  Plea negotiations will take place on July 19 and his trial is set for Aug. 8.

NBCDFW's Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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