Andre Stanton, 50, in court Monday to appeal his death sentence in the 2004 stabbing death of his girlfriend, swung his cuffed hands at his lawyer, Tim Burns, striking Burns in the forehead and eyes. Burns then collapsed onto a wooden chair, breaking it, before slumping to the floor, the Altoona Mirror reported Tuesday.
Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle ordered deputies to remove Staton, apparently angered by her rulings, from the courtroom. Burns complained of blurred vision after the incident, and was hospitalized briefly, the newspaper said.
District Attorney Richard Coniglio, a witness, said of the attack, "There's this lawyer fighting for him [Staton], and he does that? This guy deserves no rights whatsoever. He sucker-punched a guy. The victim has no chance to react."
State police in Hollidaysburg will investigate the incident, the newspaper said.