Cleveland, OH – An irate defendant bashed his own attorney in the face on Tuesday, after a judge sentenced the criminal to 47 years in prison (video below).
“He was hoping to get under 20 years,” Cleveland-based attorney Aaron Brockler told The Washington Post.
The violent outburst occurred in a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courtroom, where 42-year-old David Chislton was being sentenced for a having beat up his girlfriend in 2017, after she accused him of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
Chislton then set his apartment complex ablaze and held his girlfriend at gunpoint during the ensuing standoff with police, the Daily Mail reported.
His first two defense attorneys ultimately dropped him, and Brockler was the third lawyer to take on his case, according to The Washington Post.
Chislton later pleaded guilty to multiple counts of felonious assault, domestic violence, and aggravated arson.
The convicted felon knew he was facing the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, but when the judge said he was locking him up for nearly five decades, Chislton didn’t take it well.
Brockler said he immediately leaned towards his client to assure him that he would work to shorten the length of his prison time, but Chislton was done listening.
With his hands cuffed in front of him, Chislton slugged his lawyer in the face, knocking him to the ground beneath a courtroom table.
“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," Brockler told WJW.
Chislton then jumped on top of him and bit him, the defense attorney recounted to The Washington Post.
“I think, when the judge said 47, he just snapped and I was the closest person to him and he let it out on me,” Brockler suggested.
“It took me back to my hockey days. It was just like getting hit in the head with a slap shot,” he added. “He definitely knocked me out.”
The attack left Brockler with a concussion, a broken nose, and an injured hip.
Chislton now faces a new felonious assault charge for beating up his defense attorney, but he’ll need to find a new lawyer to defend him.
“He’s a former client at this point,” Brockler told The Washington Post.
He also blamed the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office for not handcuffing Chislton behind his back.
"He had the handcuffs around the front of him, so that means he had full range of motion... Down, in, sideways,” the lawyer told WJW. “Typically, the inmates are restrained behind their back, but from the minute he came out, he had his hands in front of him."
"I'm lucky that he didn't get his hands around me and choke me out with the cuffs, or you know, he could've got to the judge,” Brockler added. “It's not a good situation to be cuffed in the front, in my opinion.”
In a statement, Cuyahoga County Administrative Judge John Russo thanked the deputies who rushed in to restrain the violent defendant, and asked the sheriff’s office to do what they can to make the courtroom safe for everyone.
“This incident is a reminder that the safety of our employees, citizens and anyone else in our courtrooms should be a top priority,” Russo’s statement read. “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.”
You can watch Chislton’s courtroom outburst in the video below: