Nevada judge attacked by defendant during sentencing in Vegas courtroom
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge was attacked Wednesday by a defendant in a felony battery case who leaped over a defense table and the judge’s bench, landing atop her and sparking a bloody brawl involving court officials and attorneys, officials and witnesses said.
In a violent scene captured by courtroom video, Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus fell back from her seat against a wall and suffered some injuries, according to a statement from the state’s Eighth Judicial District Court.
But officials said Holthus was not hospitalised after the attack, which occurred about 11 a.m. at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas.
The courtroom marshal was injured as he came to the judge’s aid and was hospitalised for treatment of a bleeding gash on his forehead and a dislocated shoulder, according to court officials and witnesses.
The defendant, Deobra Delone Redden, 30, was wrestled to the floor behind the judge’s bench by several court and jail officers and courtroom staff members — including some who are seen throwing punches.
He was arrested and jailed at the Clark County Detention Center, where records showed he faces multiple new felony charges including battery on a protected person — referring to the judge and court officers.
Redden’s defense attorney, Caesar Almase, did not respond later to telephone and email messages.
“It happened so fast it was hard to know what to do,” said Richard Scow, the chief county district attorney who prosecuted Redden on a case that stemmed from an arrest last year on allegations that Redden attacked a person with a baseball bat.
Records showed that Redden, a Las Vegas resident, was evaluated and found mentally competent to stand trial before pleading guilty in November to a reduced charge of attempted battery causing substantial bodily harm. He previously served prison time in Nevada on a domestic battery conviction, state records show.
Redden was not in custody when he arrived at court Wednesday, and wore a white shirt and dark pants as he stood next to Almase asking the judge for leniency. He described himself as “not a rebellious person.”
“I feel like I shouldn’t be sent to prison,” Redden said, “but if its appropriate for you then you have to do what you have to do.”
As the judge made it clear she intended to put him behind bars, and the court marshal moved to handcuff him, Redden yelled expletives and charged forward — amid screams from people who had been sitting with Redden in the courtroom audience.
Holthus, a career prosecutor with more than 27 years of courthouse experience, was elected to the state court bench in 2018 and again in 2022.
In the court statement, spokeswoman MaryAnn Price said officials were “reviewing all our protocols and will do whatever is necessary to protect the judiciary, the public and our employees.”