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Landlord charged in deaths may have to defend himself

A landlord charged in connection with the carbon-monoxide deaths of three tenants at a West Babylon home he owned was ordered Monday to represent himself at jury selection after his attorney resigned.

Wilson Milord also may have to be his own attorney at his trial, scheduled to begin this week in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, if he cannot find a new lawyer.

Milord's most recent attorney, Albert Dayan of Kew Gardens, told Judge James Hudson Monday he and Milord had disputes over Dayan's pay and a plea bargain offered by the district attorney's office - an offer Milord declined.

Hudson scolded Milord in court, saying he believed Milord deliberately drove Dayan to resign to delay his trial. Milord previously had been admonished by judges for frequently changing attorneys.

"You've elected to represent yourself, by your actions," Hudson said. "To be surprised that you are about to go to trial flies in the face of all the admonishments I've given in the past year."

Hudson appointed an attorney to serve as Milord's legal adviser during jury selection, scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Milord, who is not an attorney, claimed Dayan had been paid $28,000 and wanted $50,000 more.

"Where am I going to get $50,000?" Milord said. Dayan declined to comment on financial arrangements with Milord.

Milord, 52, of Brentwood, has pleaded not guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the Nov. 20, 2007, deaths of Tanisha Armstrong, 24, her daughter Talani Johnson, 4, and a neighbor, Ricardo Pearce, 27. They were poisoned by fumes from a gas-powered generator Milord installed, prosecutors said.

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