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An Ohio man sucker-punched his own defense attorney, breaking his nose and giving him a concussion, moments after a judge sentenced him to 45 years in prison.
David Chislton, 42, had been handcuffed with his hands in front of him when he unexpectedly slammed his hands into his defense attorney’s face, sending both men to the floor and deputies and a police detective scrambling to subdue the inmate.
“I turned in to talk to him, and I just felt a swoosh and saw stars. And I remember waking up underneath the trial table,” defense attorney Aaron Brockler told WJW-TV after the dramatic attack.
Assistant Cuyayhoga County Prosecutor Jeff Schnatter even got into the melee, dragging Brockler away from Chislton by his foot, according to Cleveland.com.
“It was pretty heinously violent,” defense attorney Michael Goldberg, who had been in court waiting for a separate trial, told the paper.
Brockler later told WJW-TV he had been turning to tell his client he’d come visit him later to discuss their options after the sentence when he “just got sucker punched right in the side of the head.”
Moments before the violent outburst, Judge Nancy Margaret Russo had sentenced Chislton on nearly two dozen charges, including assaulting his girlfriend and setting fire to her apartment building.
Investigators said Chislton had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend on April 10, 2017 that quickly escalated into a violent confrontation. His girlfriend was able to safely escape but Chislton barricaded himself in the building and later set fire to the building’s second floor, causing significant damage to multiple apartments, WKYC reports.
Chislton was also later accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with his step-daughter and charged in the death of a dog.
Chislton had been facing anywhere between 19 years to more than 100 years in prison after pleading guilty to holding his girlfriend hostage and gunpoint and setting the fire.
"While his crimes were serious, I think it was just a big number for him and he lashed out against me for whatever reason," Brockler said.
He went on the say that the attack could have been prevented if Chislton had been handcuffed with his hands behind him.
Chislton is now facing the possibility of additional charges following Tuesday’s attack.
“This incident is a reminder that the safety of our employees, citizens and anyone else in our courtrooms should be a top priority,” Common Pleas Court Administrator Judge John J. Russo said in a statement, according to Cleveland.com. “We thank the deputies and others who responded during the incident for their quick actions, and we encourage the sheriff’s department to fully review safety protocols for court proceedings.”
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