The unexpected move did not go over well with the victim's family.
"And when he keeps doing this it just feels like it's another something heavy on us again just something after another with him," said victim's goddaughter Sirena Torres.
"I think it just needs to come to an end and switching attorneys or whatever he needs to do needs to stop. And if anything, an apology would be great to the family," said victim's cousin Kaila Perez.
The judge said it is clear Valera does not agree with the strategy his attorney is using.
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But he said she is qualified and has represented him adequately. She also said his request was not timely at all, among other things.
"Also the court believes his additional reason is to prolong the matter going to the jury. The court believes that Mr. Valera sees the case is concluding and coming to an end and for whatever reason does not wish to have the case concluded," said Fresno County Superior Court Hon. Houry Sanderson
Artie Gomez died in his front yard packing up for a church camping trip four years ago.
Joel Valera asked to represent himself this morning. He’s on trial for the murder of Artie Gomez 4 years ago. However, based on the timeliness of his request the judge denied it. So he is supposed to take the stand in his own defense here shortly. pic.twitter.com/VBcKn3GPNu— Sontaya Rose (@SontayaRose) August 28, 2018
He had no drugs or alcohol in his system and was a pillar in Parlier- coaching Pop Warner football for around 20 years.
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His sense of humor and personality made him the center of the huddle and his family.
And the past years have been long and hard for loved ones. His absence is still felt- at home and at every football game that he's missing on the sidelines.
Valera was an undocumented immigrant who was deported in the 1990's for statutory rape and domestic violence.
When he returned to the U.S. he used an assumed name.
Earlier this week, his girlfriend of more than 10 years testified she knew him as Joseph Gutierrez and had never heard the name Joel Valera until he was arrested.