A man on trial for taking a kindergartner hostage leaped up in court Wednesday and slashed his public defender with a razor blade.
Barbette Williams, 48, of New Orleans was booked with attempted second-degree murder for injuring lawyer Bert Garraway.
Williams wrapped his arms around Garraway and cut him above the eye and on the neck just as the defense lawyer was about to rest his case.
Garraway walked out of the courtroom, his shirt red with blood, to go to a hospital for treatment.
“I’ve contended all along that this guy is nuts, and to be honest, this pretty much confirms it,” Garraway said late Wednesday. “... What kind of rational person would attack his own lawyer?”
Williams has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on the charges he kidnapped and tried to murder 6-year-old Ben Smith IV, who was taken from his class in March 2003. He is also accused of shooting at officers, barricading himself in a house and using the boy as a shield during a 12-hour standoff that ended with the child’s release.
Deputies were investigating how Williams got the razor into court.
Garraway said he planned to ask for a mistrial when court resumed Thursday; despite the attack, prosecutor Aaron Brooks said he will fight such a motion.
“To grant a mistrial is to allow his evil actions to benefit him,” Brooks said.
It was not the first outburst in the trial. On Tuesday, while the jury was out of the room, Williams threatened to shoot the judge, the prosecutor and the court-appointed attorney.