LEWISBURG -- Slaying suspect Roderick Sims must wear a device that will deliver electric shocks if he misbehaves in Union County Court during his homicide trial, which begins with jury selection Monday.
President Judge Michael H. Sholley issued the order Tuesday during a pretrial conference to address several defense motions, including a request to dismiss first-degree murder charges against Sims, who is accused of gunning down his estranged girlfriend, Charity Spickler, 27, in a Lewisburg apartment on Sept. 28, 2008, after she left him and moved into a local women’s shelter.
Noting that Sims has been removed from the courtroom in the past for refusing to follow orders, Sholley said he had to make sure Sims remains under control for the public’s safety.
A remote control security device known as Bandit that can deliver an electronic jolt to the wearer will be placed on Sims’ calf and concealed under his pants when he’s in the courtroom during his trial. When the jury is out of the courtroom, Sims will also be shackled and cuffed.
Co-defense attorney John McLaughlin argued against putting the device on Sims.
Never crazy in court
“He’s never acted crazy in the courtroom in our presence,” he said, referring to himself and co-counsel Michael Dennehey.
Sholley dismissed the argument, responding that he’s responsible for courtroom safety and the trial would proceed in Sims’ absence if he refuses to wear the device.
During the 90-minute hearing, Sims repeatedly asked for permission to speak to the court and was refused. At one point, he tried to talk while Sholley was speaking and the judge loudly admonished him not to interrupt.
At the end of the hearing, Dennehey informed the court that Sims had taken exception to comments Sholley had made about him — including his demeanor and potentially disrupting the trial — and wanted the judge to let another jurist handle the trial.
“The defendant does not believe (Sholley) is able to be fair and partial,” Dennehey said, quickly adding that Sholley’s recusal was a request from Sims. “It’s not a motion I would have filed, if it were up to me.”
Sholley denied the motion.
When Sims again asked for a chance to speak to the court, Sholley refused, prompting Sims to speak anyway.