FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Suspected gang leader and murder defendant James Herard isn’t afraid to act out in court. He’s been known to bark at judges. But his antics Tuesday morning nearly had him ejected from the courtroom.
On Tuesday, Herard took his lawyer to task, pounding his fist, swearing and yelling about his representation.
The judge threatened to have him forcibly restrained.
Herard is on trial for at the Broward courthouse, accused of committing a string of violent robberies at Dunkin Donuts stores back in 2008.
Prosecutors say he pulled the trigger and killed patron Kiem Huynh at a Tamarac Dunkin Donuts on Thanksgiving of that same year, and that Herard ordered Lauderhill resident Eric Jean-Pierre randomly executed two weeks before.
While prosecutors presented witnesses Tuesday morning, Herard became increasingly agitated.
When his attorney Mitchell Polay failed to ask witness Frank Dennis about his address, Herard exploded.
Once the jury left the room, Herard started yelling. That’s when armed BSO deputies surrounded the table where he was sitting.
Finally Judge Paul Backman told Herard he was done listening to his tirade and the trial had to continue.
“This is your one break. BSO has warned you, and I know you don’t want to get buzzed,” the judge told Herard. He settled back into his seat and kept quiet through the rest of the day’s proceedings.
Prosecutors called two men who had been shot during Dunkin Donut robberies in Delray Beach in 2008.
Paul Berada was left blinded after he was shot in his car while the assailants left the store.
“I had perfect vision before this happened,” Berarda told the jury as he sat in the witness box with a seeing-eye cane at his side.
Henry Bornstein, who is in a wheel chair and has a deformed face, testified he was shot twice in the chest and once in the face, simply because he made eye contact with one of the robbers.
Then, in his own words, the jury heard Herard during a lengthy police interrogation describe his participation in the robberies.
At one point he’s seen pulling his shirt over his head and face to mimic how he disguised his identity during one of the holdups.
If convicted, Herard faces the death penalty.
He is already serving nine life sentences for convictions in Palm Beach County.
Two other defendants are set to go to trial in the summer.
Prosecutors expect to finish their case on Wednesday and that’s when the defense will begin.
Defense attorneys say Herard was coerced into confessing.