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5 craziest courtroom moments: Brian Nichols and more

After a recent attack on a judge inside a Las Vegas courtroom, here’s a look back at the most volatile moments in court
A courtroom (Photo credit: / Gorodenkoff)

With the latest shocking viral courtroom moment in Las Vegas of Deobra Redden attacking Judge Mary Kay Holthus, let’s look back at five of the most wild moments in courtroom  history.

Redden attacks Judge Holthus 

Redden, a 30-year-old Black man, was in court on January 3 to be sentenced for attempted battery with substantial bodily harm. In court, he asked not to go to prison, again despite his criminal history that includes three felonies, battery, attempted home invasion, nine misdemeanors, and multiple domestic violence charges.

“You’ve got a lot going on, sir,” Holthus said.

“I just feel like I’m in a better place in my mind,” Redden said. “I have a support system, I just got hired, making $20 an hour. The abuse and domestic violence … I was dealing with mental health, and I didn’t know I was dealing with it … I feel like I shouldn’t be sitting in prison, but if you feel like it’s appropriate for you, you have to do what you have to do, but I figured that if I’m in a better place in my life, I’m not doing drugs, I’m not committing crimes now, I feel I should be given a shot because I’m in a better place than I was.”

After Redden’s lawyer recommended something other than prison, Holthus wasn’t budging.

“I appreciate that, but I think it’s time he gets a taste of something else,” Holthus said. “Because I just can’t with magistry. The court with the state of -”

Redden then snapped.

“No,” Redden said as he moved. “F– that, b—-.”

He ran up to Holthus, leaped over her desk, and began attacking her.

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Ronnie Oneal yells and admits to killing his girlfriend, daughter

In 2018, Oneal, then 28 years old, admitted to killing his girlfriend and daughter while shouting in his closing argument. He represented himself in the trial.

“If you think I’m here to play around, got d—it, I’m not!” Oneal yelled. “… I did kill Kenyatta Barren, but I want you to tell it like it is if you’re going to tell it.”

He received three life sentences and didn’t apologize at his sentencing.

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T.J. Lane wears “killer” shirt to sentencing

T.J. Lane, an Ohio school shooter, wore a “killer” T-shirt to his sentencing hearing. When he spoke at the hearing, he turned to the family, gave them the middle finger, and said, “The same hand used to pull the trigger to kill your son now masturbates to the memory.”

In 2014, he escaped prison for a few hours before being captured again.

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Brian Nichols

In perhaps the craziest courtroom action ever, on March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols beat a deputy, took her gun, and used that weapon to kill Judge Rowland Barnes with a single shot to his head. He then shot and killed court reporter Julie Brandau. He then fired multiple shots into the abdomen of another deputy, Hoyt Teasley. The attack happened shortly before 9 a.m. while he was being escorted to his retrial for raping his ex-girlfriend.

Nichols was on the run for 26 hours during which he also killed David Wilhelm after stealing his vehicle. He ended up hiding in Duluth, a North Atlanta suburb where he held Ashley Smith hostage. He eventually let Smith get her daughter, and she reported his whereabouts to the police.

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Brian Earl Taylor sings Adele-inspired apology

Brian Earl Taylor, 21, sang an Adele-inspired “sorry” to the judge, his mother, and victim. He was arrested for kidnapping a victim with plans to rob him. He was sentenced to two years in state prison for illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

In September 2022, Taylor released his own single, “What am I to do.”

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