Man on trial for murder slashes attorney's face in court
A Central California man on trial for murder faces additional charges after he slashed his attorney in the face in a courtroom attack, officials said.
As jurors entered the Tulare County courtroom Monday morning, Rafael Mendoza, 29, cut public defender John Shepard in the face with a makeshift weapon, the Fresno Bee reported. A sheriff's bailiff and Tulare police officers detained Mendoza and helped the attorney.
Mendoza, who is accused of killing a 25-year-old woman whose body was found in May 2010, faces attempted murder charges for the courtroom attack, sheriff's officials told the newspaper. Judge Valeriano Saucedo declared a mistrial in the murder trial, which was entering its third week.
The incident was the second attack in Tulare County Superior Court this week, the Bee reported. Last week, a former Tulare County correctional deputy on trial for child molestation attacked a detective as a guilty verdict was read against him.
— Kate Mather