Defendant defiant in pre-trial hearing for triple murder, arson

Triple murder defendant Xavier Whitehead was in no mood to chat Monday.

When Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Samantha Ward asked him questions, he refused to answer.

"Mr. Whitehead, do you have any issues or comments on what was put on the record?" asked Ward.

There was only silence from Whitehead. The silent treatment continued as Judge Ward grew frustrated by his disrespect to the court.

"Mr. Whitehead, look at me," Judge Ward ordered.

Again, Whitehead hung his head in silence. Not even a plea from his attorney helped.

Victims Derek Archie, Haley Stone and Xavier Greene.

Whitehead and a co-defendant are accused of killing Derek Archie, Haley Stone, and Xavier Greene. All three were found dead, their bodies burned in a home they shared.

Investigators say all three died of upper body trauma.

Detectives say there is a video that shows Whitehead carrying a gas can moments before the fire.

In court Monday, Prosecutor Justin Diaz said Whitehead later tried to intimidate a key witness.

"Mr. Whitehead is repeatedly asking the witness to tell the police, 'You don’t know me. That’s not me on the video. You can’t recognize me,'" insisted Diaz. 

But Whitehead stayed mum.

Judge Ward called his bluff.

"Standing silent is not going to protect the rights you think you are protecting, so if that’s what's going on, you can forget it and answer my question," explained Judge Ward 

Whitehead's trial is set for Monday, Dec. 16. It is expected to last a week.