Restrained defendant removed, found guilty

ALBANY, Ga. -- After a two day trial, Reginald Smith was found guilty at 7:10 p.m. Thursday of aggravated assault on a peace officer, misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a weapon without a license, according to Chief Assistant Dougherty District Attorney Heather Lanier

Smith was found not guilty on one count of felony obstruction.

Even with his hands and legs restrained to a chair on wheels and his mouth gagged, Smith managed to hurl vindictive vulgarity during the trial Thursday. He was eventually removed from the courtroom by Chief Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette.

Smith, 41, was put in restraints, his head covered with black netting and a white gag wrapped around his mouth, jaw and head so he could attend his trial. He had disrupted the proceedings Wednesday by screaming and threatening court officers. That forced Lockette to restrain Smith with Hannibal Lecter-style binding.

Smith's attorney, Karen Brown, said that he had not been cooperative in his defense.

When Lockette explained Smith's rights as a defendant during Thursday's court session, Smith began shaking his head from side to side in a violent "No."

"You have the right to be present at your trial," Lockette said. "You must conduct yourself with the proper decorum; you cannot disrupt the proceeding."

Asked if he understood, Smith again vehemently shook his head from side to side, "No." After the jury was seated and a witness began testimony, he became more agitated and, despite his gag, hurled vulgarities at the witness.

After Lockette cautioned the jury to only take facts presented in evidence, not the behavior of Smith, into account during their deliberations, the trial resumed with Smith out of the courtroom.

The unrelated trial of 29-year-old Ladiedra Judge for the murder and aggravated assault of 29-year-old Contravious Holman also was disrupted.

A juror had lunch at a Subway restaurant Thursday and chatted with a woman who had been sitting on the defense side of the courtroom, supporting the defendant since the trial began Monday.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Breedon objected to the juror returning to the trial on the grounds that she could be influenced by her contact and relationship with the defendant's supporter.

After questioning the women who lunched together, Judge Denise Marshall agreed with Breedon and dismissed the juror to avoid even a hint of impropriety.

Defendant Judge took the stand to tell her side of the story. According to her attorney, Nikki Bonner, she would declare that Holman's death was an accident that happened during "a friendly food fight."