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Convicted murderer attacks defense lawyer at Torrance courthouse

December 30, 2009 |  4:21 pm
Moments after a jury convicted him of murder in an execution-style shooting in Rancho Palos Verdes, a defendant attacked his attorney Wednesday, authorities said.

Daniel Nunez, 29, of Gardena was quickly tackled by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and restrained with a stun gun, authorities said.

A jury had just convicted him of murdering and kidnapping Jesus Payan, 38, on Jan. 31, 2007.

“As soon as the verdict was read, he attacked his attorney,” said Steve Whitmore, a sheriff’s spokesman.

Whtimore said deputies had prepared for a violent outburst by the defendant and had positioned themselves behind Nunez for the reading of the verdict.

Two deputies grabbed Nunez and forced him to the floor, Whitmore said. When he continued to struggle, a third deputy stunned the defendant with a Taser, incapacitating him, Whitmore said. The attorney was not hurt in the attack.

Nunez, who is being tried with a second defendant, Rudy Tafoya, will appear for sentencing in February. He faces a sentence of life without parole.

-- Richard Winton