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Judge attack suspect was in ‘delusional state’ during incident, attorney says

Updated February 29, 2024 - 7:44 pm

The defense attorney for a man seen on video attacking a Las Vegas judge claimed his client was in a “delusional state” and is not responsible for his actions.

Deobra Redden, 31, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity during a brief court hearing on Thursday. He was indicted earlier this month on charges including attempted murder, battery, extortion by threat, intimidating a public officer, and willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons.

Redden’s attorney, Carl Arnold, said that Redden was invoking his right to a speedy trial.

Arnold said that Redden, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, did not know what he was doing when he launched himself at District Judge Mary Kay Holthus during a sentencing hearing in January.

“Just like everybody else, in looking at the video, I thought Mr. Redden was either out of his mind or on drugs at the time of this incident,” Arnold said following Thursday’s hearing.

Arnold said that Redden was without his medication leading up to the day of the hearing when he attacked the judge. At trial, Arnold said he will have to show that Redden was under a “delusional state” that made him unaware of “the nature of circumstances of his actions.”

“So basically, he was out of his mind and not in control of what he was doing,” Arnold said.

Unlike when a defendant is deemed incompetent to stand trial, Arnold said, Redden is able to help with his defense and understands court proceedings.

Redden’s foster mother, Karen Springer, told reporters Thursday that Redden has struggled with his mental health since she began taking care of him when he was 12 years old.

She said Redden didn’t know he could have been sent to prison when he appeared in front of Holthus, and he had already shown signs of being off his medication that morning.

“He told me he didn’t really remember what he did,” Springer said when she recalled speaking to Redden after he attacked the judge.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Liz Mercer told the judge on Thursday that prosecutors would want to hire their own expert to evaluate Redden’s mental state.

During a grand jury hearing this month, Holthus testified that Redden flung himself at her after she heard a courtroom marshal pull out his handcuffs to take Redden into custody. He was in court to be sentenced on an attempted battery charge, and Holthus had indicated that she would send Redden to prison instead of placing him on probation.

Redden jumped over the defense table, ran across the courtroom and launched himself over the judge’s bench, tackling Holthus and slamming her head into a wall, police have said. An attorney, clerk and uniformed officer pulled Redden off Holthus after he allegedly pulled out a clump of her hair and hit her in the head.

A courtroom marshal who ran after Redden suffered a head injury and a dislocated shoulder after tripping into the judge’s bench, police have said.

Redden also faces a charge of an unlawful act regarding bodily fluid, after police said he spit on a correction officer at the Clark County Detention Center after he was taken into custody on Jan. 3 after he attacked the judge.

On Thursday, District Judge Susan Johnson scheduled Redden’s trial for April 29, and ordered him to appear in court again for a status check on March 28.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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