One of two men accused of murdering a Philadelphia police officer pulled a courtroom sneak attack yesterday, punching his attorney twice in the head.
Eric Deshann Floyd, 35, was hustled from the courtroom by two deputy sheriffs after the ambush on William Bowe, one of two court-appointed attorneys trying to save him from death row.
Floyd and co-defendant Levon Terrell Warner, 41, could be sentenced to death if a jury finds them guilty of murdering Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski in May 2008.
Bowe's forehead and face were bruised from the blows and from hitting the defense table, witnesses said.
He was not seriously injured but was taken by ambulance to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for treatment.
It was not clear if Floyd would be hit with additional charges for the attack. A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office said the Sheriff's Office would make that determination, but a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said the decision was up to the D.A.
Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes retook the bench two hours after the incident to say that jury selection would resume tomorrow, with Floyd watching from a holding cell via closed-circuit television.
"I am absolutely going to trial. This trial will continue," a frustrated Hughes declared.
Bowe will be in court tomorrow, she said.
The attack followed a discussion between Floyd and Hughes about whether the defendant would behave himself after disrupting court for the third straight day.
Floyd refused to guarantee his cooperation, prompting Hughes' order to remove him.
Floyd, standing behind Bowe, then began to pummel the elderly attorney.
On Monday, Floyd told Hughes that Bowe had irritated him and that he wanted to fire him and represent himself. Hughes denied that request.
On Tuesday, Hughes had Floyd removed from the courtroom after he repeatedly disrupted jury selection and insisted that he did not want Bowe and his co-counsel, Earl G. Kauffman, to represent him.
Liczbinski, 39, was shot five times while trying to stop Floyd, Warner and Howard Cain, who, authorities said, had just robbed a Port Richmond bank.
Gunman Cain, 33, was killed by police that day. Floyd was the getaway driver, while Warner handed Cain the gun that was used to shoot the officer, police have said.