A murder suspect struck her pregnant defense attorney in court on Thursday.
Shaunice McKinley, 25, faces murder and robbery charges in connection with the May death of an 80-year-old Las Vegas man. She was arrested in July and is currently housed at the Clark County Detention Center.
On Thursday, she was present in court for a scheduled hearing when she hit her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Hamers, in the face.
“When we were in court yesterday, she physically struck me one time,” Hamers told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday. “She was removed from the courtroom after that.”
Hamers, who is six months pregnant, was not seriously injured and did not require medical attention.
“We’re concerned for her, because sometimes that’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re dealing with someone who is mentally ill,” Hamers said of McKinley.
Shortly after the incident, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth said in court that she intended to seek charges against McKinley. District Attorney Steve Wolfson ultimately will decide whether McKinley will face additional charges.
Court records show that McKinley’s mental health has previously been called into question. She was found competent to stand trial in August.
Hamers is no longer defending McKinley. The murder case was reassigned to Assistant Special Public Defender Randy Pike.
The victim, Willie Normand Jr. of Las Vegas, was found dead in his condo after he failed to show up to work for two days. He had been stabbed in the chest, according to the county coroner’s office.
Contact Rachel Crosby at email@example.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.