PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man accused of murdering his father has been acting as his own defense attorney in a Multnomah County Courtroom. Tyler Wayne Nees, 33, is facing murder and unlawful use of a weapon charges for the December 2017 stabbing that killed 64-year-old Brian Nees. Tyler has pleaded not guilty to both counts.
Police originally said the stabbing happened near Southeast 72nd Avenue and Woodstock around 1:55 a.m. December 2, 2017. Police said Brian went to Mt. Scott Pub after he was stabbed in the back. Employees were cleaning up at the time, but they saw Brian and gave him towels while they called 911. According to court documents, the victim identified his son as his killer in the 911 call and to a police officer who rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital, where he later died.
Prosecutors’ court filings state Tyler Nees slept in his father’s apartment because the elder Nees “was unwilling to turn his son away.” He allegedly went to a friend’s apartment and “smeared blood stains from his hands” in several places. Then, prosecutors say he offered an Uber driver a gold chain to take him to Seattle “right now,” which the driver refused to do.
Police said an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers led to Nees’ arrest 12 days after the crime.
The court granted Nees’ most recent defense attorney’s motion to withdraw on January 31, just days before the trial was set to begin. According to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, Nees has had numerous lawyers and threatened to kill the last one.
Now Nees has a legal advisor, but she was absent for the first 3 days of the trial, which started Monday. She told KOIN 6 on Thursday that she is just there to help with procedural questions and is aware there have been “problems” between Nees and his former attorneys.
Nees must be restrained in the courtroom, according to legal documents. Those may include belly chains, leg restraints, and access to a “spit sock.” However, he is allowed to question witnesses and has been doing so.
One of the prosecution’s witnesses from the state crime lab appeared to grow exasperated during Nees’ cross examination, particularly when he repeatedly mentioned the handle of the knife being covered in blood. The lab tech maintained that the handle of the knife was in no way “covered in blood.”
Another expert testified about the DNA analysis done on the knife blade and handle.
There was a brief squabble between Nees and prosecutors prior to the lunch break Thursday. Nees wanted to bring the lab tech back as a witness. The judge pointed out that he had already excused her and that the defense had not raised an objection. A back and forth with prosecutors escalated as Nees asked about his ability to provide a witness list. Nees mentioned that he was “forced pro se” (meaning to represent himself) and one prosecutor objected to the idea that it was “forced.” Rather, “he threatened to kill the last lawyer.”
The prosecution has called more than a dozen witnesses so far, including one of Nees’ sisters, a brother, law enforcement, and the Uber driver (although a recording of the Uber ride conversation was not allowed to be admitted as evidence). Nees is expected to begin his defense case Monday. According to court documents, another one of the defendant’s brothers could be transported to court from Oregon State Correctional Institution next Monday to testify.