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Nevada judge is back to work a day after being attacked by defendant who jumped atop her

Jan 4, 2024, 9:05 PM

Man leaping over judges bench stand in coourtroom...

In this image from video provided by the Clark County District Court, a defendant identified by court officials and records as Deobra Redden is seen launching over the desk of Judge Mary Kay Holthus during his sentencing in a felony battery case on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Las Vegas. Authorities say the judge suffered minor injuries while a courtroom marshal suffered a bleeding gash on his forehead and a dislocated shoulder. (Clark County District Court via AP)

(Clark County District Court via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge was back to work a day after being attacked by a defendant in a felony battery case who was captured on courtroom video charging forward and “supermanning” over the judge’s bench after it became clear that he was being sentenced to prison, a court official said Thursday.

The defendant, Deobra Redden, is scheduled to face Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus again Monday morning for his rescheduled sentencing, according to Chief Judge Jerry Wiese.

At a news conference Thursday, Wiese shared a statement from Holthus, who fell back from her seat against a wall when the defendant landed atop her and grabbed her hair, toppling an American flag onto them. Holthus suffered some injuries and was evaluated but not hospitalized, courthouse officials said.

“She wanted me to thank all of the well-wishers and others who have expressed concern for her and her staff,” Wiese said. “She is extremely grateful for those who took brave action during the attack.”

In a bloody brawl, Redden had to be wrestled off the judge Wednesday morning by her law clerk, Michael Lasso, and several court and jail officers — including some who were seen throwing punches. One courtroom marshal was hospitalized for treatment of a bleeding gash on his forehead and a dislocated shoulder, and Lasso was treated for cuts on his hands.

Wiese credited Lasso for his quick action, saying he was the “primary person” who pulled the defendant off the judge “and probably kept her from having more severe injuries.”

Redden, 30, was jailed on $54,000 bail in connection with the attack but refused to return to court on Thursday on the new charges, so a judge rescheduled his next appearance for Jan. 9. Records show that he faces 13 counts including extortion and coercion with force. Seven of the new counts are battery on a protected person, referring to the judge and officers who came to her aid.

“It happened so fast it was hard to know what to do,” said Richard Scow, the chief county district attorney, who was prosecuting Redden for allegedly attacking a person with a baseball bat last year.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the suspect’s criminal record is marked by mostly violent offenses and includes prior convictions for three felonies and nine misdemeanors. He said Redden should be held without bail as “an extreme danger to the community and a flight risk.”

“He’s been violent his entire adult life,” Wolfson said.

Redden’s defense attorney on Wednesday, Caesar Almase, declined to comment.

At the sentencing hearing, Redden wasn’t shackled or in jail garb because he had been released from custody as part of a deal with prosecutors, in which he pleaded guilty in November to a reduced charge of attempted battery resulting in substantial injuries. He was initially charged in the baseball bat attack with assault with a deadly weapon, court records show.

Nevada judge attacked by defendant during sentencing in courtroom, caught on video

On Wednesday, he wore a white shirt and dark pants as he stood next to his attorney and asked the judge for leniency while describing himself as “a person who never stops trying to do the right thing no matter how hard it is.“

“I’m not a rebellious person,” he told the judge, adding that he doesn’t think he should be sent to prison. “But if it’s appropriate for you, then you have to do what you have to do.”

Moments later, as the judge made it clear she intended to put him behind bars, and the court marshal moved to handcuff him and take him into custody, Redden yelled expletives and charged forward. People who had been sitting with him in the courtroom audience, including his foster mother, began to scream.

Records show Redden, who lives in Las Vegas, was evaluated and found competent to stand trial in the battery case before pleading guilty to the reduced charge. He previously served prison time in Nevada on a domestic battery conviction, records show.

Holthus was a career prosecutor with more than 27 years of courthouse experience when she was elected to the state court bench in 2018.

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Nevada judge is back to work a day after being attacked by defendant who jumped atop her