"Well you all are getting real close to pissin' me off,"

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  1. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

    May 7, 2004
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    Hickory, N.C.
    Posted on Wed, Jul. 20, 2005

    Teen gives judge attitude; judge gives teen jail time

    The witness in an attempted murder case is cited for contempt after refusing to cooperate.
    The Wichita Eagle

    A teenager with a bad attitude was slapped with a contempt of court citation, then subdued by deputies when he tried to fight his way out of Sedgwick County District Court on Tuesday.

    In roughly 15 years on the bench, Judge Clark Owens had never found anyone in contempt before, let alone had to order a witness dragged from his courtroom.

    But when an obstinate teenager refused to answer a prosecutor's questions in a preliminary hearing for attempted murder, Owens cited the 16-year-old boy for contempt.

    The witness then tried to leave the courtroom and fought with Sedgwick County sheriff's deputies.

    They threw the teen face-down on the table in front of the defendant, James D. Williams. As the boy's mother shouted from the gallery, guards handcuffed the teen and dragged him from court.

    Williams is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of two men during an argument over a woman.

    Carlos Bell, 24, lost his right leg from the knee down because of the wounds he suffered on April 4. A bullet passed through his left leg and pierced his right. Lemmie Alford, 17, was shot in the back, the bullet piercing his abdomen.

    Bell said they were trying to walk away from an altercation in front of a house in the 2300 block of East Shadybrook Lane, near 19th and Grove.

    During Friday's preliminary hearing, Bell pointed to Williams, 21, as the man who shot him. Williams, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday, told police that someone came up behind a group of them and began firing.

    During the investigation, the 16-year-old witness had told police he was among five males that had driven over to the house on Shadybrook.

    The girlfriend of one of the men had been called an offensive name. The carload of boys and men sought to confront the name-callers.

    On the stand Tuesday, the teenager denied even talking to police, when asked about the recorded interview by assistant district attorney Barry Disney.

    Disney, who specializes in prosecuting gang members, had seen it before. Witnesses sometimes give detailed descriptions of violent and deadly acts to police, then develop sudden amnesia when called into court.

    The teen answered "nope" faster than Disney could ask questions.

    "Let him ask the question before you answer," Owens told the witness.

    "It's 'nope,' " the witness said.

    "Are you going to answer no to all my questions?" Disney asked.

    "I don't know. Keep asking."

    "You're getting real close to contempt now," Owens warned.

    "Well you all are getting real close to pissin' me off," the witness replied.

    That was enough. Owens ordered the boy to serve 30 days in juvenile detention.

    Later in the day, another witness, Rodney Smith, took the stand in the hearing and began asking Disney questions.

    "You're not answering my questions," Smith said.

    "I ask the questions. I don't answer yours," Disney said.

    "Do you want to be led out of here in handcuffs?" Owens asked.

    Smith settled down, naming who went with him to Shadybrook, except for Williams.

    A month after the shooting, during an interview with Detective Daniel Harty, Williams said he was in the car that went to Shadybrook.

    Owens set Williams' trial for September.

    Reach Ron Sylvester at 268-6514 or rsylvester@wichitaeagle.com.

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