A scuffle broke out in a Connecticut courtroom on March 9 when members of a 21-year-old murder victim’s family clashed with people who supporting the man accused of committing the crime. The disturbance escalated into a brawl when bailiffs ordered the two factions to leave the arraignment hearing. According to media reports, one bailiff used pepper spray to break up a fight and others called the Connecticut State Police for assistance. After the disturbance had been subdued and three people had been taken into custody, the judge set the 21-year-old suspect’s bond at $1 million and returned him to custody.
Prosecutors say the man has confessed to shooting and killing the victim when an argument about a car loan became heated. He allegedly admitted that he took a semiautomatic handgun to the meeting and told police where he concealed the weapon. The victim was shot in Hartford outside his residence and died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and face.
The man claims that he only fired his weapon when the victim grabbed him aggressively by the throat. However, he allegedly admits to firing several additional shots as he fled the scene. Police say that they have obtained video footage from a nearby security camera that shows the man running from the scene. They also collected shell casings outside the apartment that allegedly match the suspect’s gun.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise individuals charged with murder or other violent crimes to answer no questions without a lawyer present. This is because prosecutors have little motivation to make concessions when the suspect has already confessed and provided a full account of the events in question. Attorneys could also point out that courtroom melees generally anger judges and make plea agreements more difficult to negotiate.