COLUMBUS, Ohio – A defendant brought to court in a wheelchair began kicking his court-appointed lawyer and had to be subdued with a stun gun.
One deputy was accidentally shocked by the Taser and recoiled during Tuesday's scuffle with Wendell Hollingsworth, 43. The defense attorney was treated for a cut on the hand.
When Hollingsworth arrived in Franklin County Common Pleas Court for jury selection on charges accusing him of robbing parishioners at a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday Mass, he appeared calm and told Judge Julie Lynch that he had hurt his back.
While at the defense table, he began kicking attorney J. Scott Weisman, eventually sliding from the wheelchair and onto the floor, where deputies used the stun gun. Hollingsworth was later wheeled back into the courtroom, his body restrained with black straps. A white spit protector wrapped around his head and covered his mouth.
He then began complaining that he would not get a fair trial because he was not being allowed to fire Weisman, and challenged the judge to sentence him on the spot.
"Give me 250 years right now! It's unfair," he said.
Hollingsworth was moved to a holding cell next to the courtroom so jury selection could begin.
During Hollingsworth's sentencing in a 1992 robbery case, public defender David Bodiker said he turned to talk to Hollingsworth's mother when his client punched him, opening a wound that needed eight stitches.
In the current case, Hollingsworth is accused of flashing a gun and saying "This is a robbery" during a service at Columbus' Christ the King Catholic Church Jan. 28.
Prosecutors say he was working with Celeste Smith, 51, who pleaded guilty Monday to one count of robbery and was sentenced to six years in prison, plus an additional year because a gun was used. Smith held a bag to collect money and other belongings from parishioners, prosecutors said.