Sonoma County inmate Tased in attempted courtroom escape
Published: Friday, August 17, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.
Deputies used a stun gun Friday to subdue a Sonoma County jail inmate who tried to flee the courtroom when his case was called by the judge.
Witnesses said Jesse James Graham, 34, tried to hurdle the wooden barricade separating his seating area from the audience and was immediately brought down by a hit from a Taser.
“He yelled out really loud,” said Ken Friedman of Mill Valley, who was in the courtroom accompanying a friend. “It looked like it hurt.”
An audience member who tried to stop Graham was hit accidentally with a high-voltage probe. Todd Campbell of Guerneville was sitting up and talking as he was wheeled away by emergency workers.
Graham, a convicted burglar who was in court for a report on his mental competence, suffered no serious injuries and was escorted back to jail, Sgt. Eric Thomson said.
Witnesses said the incident happened just after 9 a.m. as Graham's case was called. There were dozens of people in the courtroom audience.
Graham stood up, then hurdled the three-foot wooden bar like a track star, one witness said.
Deputy Andrew Clark pulled a stun gun and fired once, hitting Graham in the buttocks from about 20 feet away, Thomson said.
A second probe struck Campbell's hand, creating a closed circuit as Campbell tried to grab Graham, Thomson said.
“The deputy was quick,” said criminal defense lawyer John LemMon. “He nailed him good and he went down hard.”
Attorney Stephen Turer of Santa Rosa, whose spent four decades in courtroom work, also was there.
“In all my years I've never seen that happen,” Turer said. “The guy tired to bolt and got caught.”
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