Judge leaps to protect woman in court
A defendant in Broward County court ended up in jail after he lunged at the woman who spoke out against him. A judge was among those who jumped to protect the woman
A defendant in Broward County court ended up in jail after he lunged at the woman who spoke out against him. A judge was among those who jumped to protect the woman.
The hearing began like any other. The defendant, with his lawyer, stood to one side. His ex-girlfriend, also with a lawyer, stood to the other side.
But the scene quickly descended into chaos when Broward County Judge Ian Richards told the defendant, John Charles Reasee (29) that he would go to jail for violating a restraining order.
Reasee snapped. Before the bailiff could handcuff him, Reasee darted around behind his lawyer and attacked Nicole Word, his former girlfriend and the mother of his daughter.
Richards (33), one of Broward's newest judges, leaped over the bench. He and Word's attorney stood in front of Word, keeping Reasee at bay while a bailiff tried to restrain the defendant.
But not before Reasee hit Word on the side of her head with a closed fist and then landed four more blows as she ran toward the judge's bench, Word later told The Miami Herald. "I thought he was going to kill me," she said.
Meanwhile, a second person ran out of the courtroom, screaming for help. Four Lauderhill officers waiting to testify in another case nearby raced in. They found the bailiff trying to restrain Reasee. The officers held down Reasee while Officer Adam Wilson helped the bailiff slap on the cuffs.
The incident was caught on a courtroom videotape.
Judge Richards would take no credit for his role in the melee. Richards had been a lawyer in private practice until voters elected him to the bench in August. "That was unfortunate, something I hope never happens again," he said.