A woman and her daughter allegedly tried to sneak a clip loaded with .40-caliber handgun bullets to a sexual assault defendant at a courthouse lockup Wednesday, state police said.

Lynda Schoon-Lang (search), 60, and her 28-year-old daughter, Zsakieta, allegedly hid the clip in a pair of sneakers they were bringing to the Waterbury Superior Court along with a change of clothing for the prisoner, said state police spokesman Sgt. J. Paul Vance.

Judicial marshals discovered the ammunition when the pair tried to pass through the courthouse security checkpoint. The courthouse was evacuated; it reopened two hours later. No gun was found.

Investigators would not say whether they believe the women were trying to mimic a case in Atlanta last week, when police say a rape suspect grabbed a gun from a courtroom deputy and went on a shooting spree, killing a judge and three others.

"If someone gets in there and shoots somebody, it doesn't matter if it's a copycat," Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano said.

Family members said Lynda Schoon-Lang didn't know the clip was in the box of belongings she had brought to court. They said the clip belonged to another relative.

"She's like, 'I should have checked the shoes, I should have checked them,"' said Donny Fitzgerald, who witnessed the incident.

The women were charged with conveying contraband to an inmate, aiding and conspiring to transfer a weapon into a court or correctional facility and breach of peace. Each was held in lieu of $250,000 bond.

The defendant was not identified; prosecutors said he has a history of violent crimes, including robbery, assault and arson.