Murder defendant attacks lawyer in Jackson County courtroom

06/27/2014 7:34 PM

06/27/2014 8:06 PM

A Kansas City man could be excluded from his triple murder trial next week after attacking his attorney in a Jackson County courtroom this week.

The violent outburst Tuesday in front of nearly 70 potential jurors prompted the judge to declare a mistrial for the second time in two days in the case against Derek T. Hubbard.

His trial now is scheduled to begin Monday. Prosecutors have filed a legal brief “in support of denying defendant the right of being present at trial.”

Hubbard, 49, is charged with killing his girlfriend, her cousin and the cousin’s wife inside an east Kansas City home in November 2011.

According to court documents, Hubbard and his girlfriend, Stephanie Brown, were at the home of Anthony Carlos Richardson and Mary Richardson when Hubbard allegedly became upset, pulled out a gun and started hitting Brown.

Anthony Richardson intervened to protect Brown, his cousin. After a brief fight, Hubbard allegedly shot and killed all three people.

His trial on charges of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder had been set for this week in front of Circuit Judge Justine Del Muro.

Before jury selection began Monday, Hubbard made several complaints about the court proceedings and his public defender, Curtis Winegarner, according to the brief filed by prosecutors.

Early Monday afternoon, as attorneys questioned 65 potential jurors, Hubbard allegedly began yelling that he was the victim of a conspiracy and that Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté was out to get him.

“You are all out to get me,” he allegedly said.

Anthony Richardson was a childhood friend of Forté’s.

Hubbard’s outburst lasted several minutes before guards removed him from the courtroom. As guards took him through the courtroom door, he grabbed the door frame and had to be “forcibly pulled through,” according to the document.

Winegarner requested a mistrial. After lawyers questioned the jurors, the judge granted the request.

After jurors left, Hubbard was brought back into the courtroom and warned by the judge that another disruption would result in him being removed from the courtroom and the trial proceeding without him.

The next day, a new group of potential jurors was seated, and attorneys questioned them for about an hour without incident.

When questioning resumed after lunch, Hubbard suddenly stood and allegedly attacked Winegarner “with his hands outstretched toward Mr. Winegarner’s neck.”

“While the defendant attacked Mr. Winegarner, he was again yelling statements that there was a conspiracy against him, that Chief Forté was behind the conspiracy and that ‘they’ were trying to kill him,” according to the court document.

After Hubbard was removed from the courtroom, the judge declared a mistrial.

The judge declined to comment Friday because the case is pending. Prosecutors also declined to comment.

Calls to Winegarner and the head of the public defender’s office in Kansas City were not returned Friday.

Online court records Friday did not reflect how the judge plans to proceed. But in their written brief, prosecutors said Missouri law supports the court’s decision to “ban the defendant from further proceedings in this case.”

“The actions taken by the defendant have been disrupting to court proceedings, have escalated from outbursts to an assault and have effectively paralyzed the case,” prosecutors wrote.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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