VIDEO: Accused Rapist Punches Defense Attorney During Hearing
Seattle, WA – A homeless man who raped a woman in a car dealership bathroom two years ago punched his attorney in the head during a competency hearing on Feb. 13 (video below).
Lindsey, the victim, had stopped at Carter Volkswagen in Ballard to drop her car off on May 14, 2018 and was waiting for the dealership’s shuttle to take her to work when she went to use a restroom located in a temporary trailer in the parking lot, according to KOMO.
Christopher Teel, a six-foot-five-inch 24-year-old homeless man who had recently been living in one of the tiny home encampments nearby, attacked Lindsey in her bathroom stall and raped her.
Lindsey, a 40-year-old with children at home, fought her attacker and screamed for help. She told police she eventually “surrendered because I didn’t want to die,” KOMO reported.
Dealership employees and other customers heard Lindsey’s screams and rushed to her aid.
They found her cowering on the bathroom floor and Teel naked from the waist down, according to KOMO.
Dealership employees “detained the individual by tackling him and held him until police arrived,” Carter Volkswagen’s Executive Manager Jennifer Moran said.
Police arrested Teel and took him to police headquarters, where he confessed to having followed Lindsey into the bathroom to rape her, KOMO reported.
Then he head-butted a Seattle police detective.
Teel was charged with first-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment and pleaded not guilty in King County Superior Court.
It turned out that at the time he raped Lindsey, Teel had a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in Seattle Municipal court for a gross misdemeanor charge of first-degree criminal trespass, according to the Seattle Times.
Teel, a transient from Texas, had lived in a few of the city’s homeless encampments since he arrived in Seattle during the summer of 2016.
However, all of the city’s sanctioned shelters and camps have different policies regarding background checks for the residents, the Seattle Times reported.
Homeless advocates have argued that drug tests and warrant checks are barriers for an already disenfranchised population.
So while Teel’s identification had been checked against a sex offender list at one of the tiny home encampments, administrators had never checked to see if the man was a fugitive, according to the Seattle Times.
The doctor who conducted a psychiatric evaluation of Teel for the court determined that the homeless man was capable of understanding the charges against him, KOMO reported.
In fact, the psychologist said that Teel might be “feigning” his symptoms of a psychotic disorder.
When Teel appeared in court on Feb. 13 for his competency hearing, he was surrounded by four King County sheriff’s deputies as he stood before Superior Court Judge Karen Donohue, KOMO reported.
Surveillance video from inside the courtroom showed that the judge was talking when Teel suddenly reached out and punched his court-appointed attorney in the head.
At least four deputies took Teel to the ground immediately and restrained him, KOMO reported.
Then he was quickly removed from the courtroom and taken back to jail where he had been held on a $1 million bond since his arrest.
King County Sheriff's Captain Peter Horvath told KOMO that Teel was not in handcuffs for his court appearance because defendants have the right to be unrestrained when they appear for a hearing.
The next day, Teel’s court-appointed attorney, Reid Burkland, filed a notice that he was withdrawing as counsel for the client who attacked him with the King County Superior Court Clerk's office, KOMO reported.
"By this notice the King County Department of Public Defense Seattle and the undersigned attorney withdraw as of this date as counsel of record for the Defendant in the above entitled matter," the notice read.
Burkland told KOMO that he wasn’t injured in the attack and said “I hold no ill will against Mr. Teel.”
It wasn’t known whether another court-appointed attorney would be made available to Teel or if he would need to retain private representation.
Watch the events unfold in the courtroom in the video below: