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Calif. Courtroom Melee: Defendant Stabs Judge, Is Shot Dead By Detective

Posted Mar 5, 2009 1:20 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: A man at trial for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend to death was shot and killed in a Stockton, Calif., courtroom yesterday after he reportedly left the witness stand and began stabbing the judge.

Authorities say David Paradiso, 29, was shot dead by a police detective as the defendant walked up behind San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Cinda Fox as a trial break was beginning and attacked her, reports the Los Angeles Times. Fox was treated for unknown injuries and is in good condition.

Paradiso's defense attorney, Charles Pacheco, and Detective Eric Bradley of Lodi both ran toward the bench, Pacheco tells the tells the Stockton Record, and Bradley "reached over the judge, put his gun against Paradiso's chest and fired," says Pacheco, who heard three shots. "He's the guy that saved the judge's life."

Paradiso's family reportedly had tried to warn jailers several weeks ago that he was carrying a weapon into court, according to the Times.

In a follow-up article on Friday, the Times reports that jailers searched Paradiso's cell several times, but never found the six-inch shank he used to attack the judge (a photo of the weapon accompanies the news story). Authorities suspect he concealed it in a leg brace he wore.

The judge is now recovering well, according to news reports.

Additional and related coverage:

Associated Press: "Man on trial for murder attacks judge in central Calif. courtroom before he's shot to death"

ABAJournal.com (March 2008): "2 Lawyers Attacked in Federal Court Melee"

Last updated at 10:30 p.m. on March 6 to include information from follow-up Times coverage and update on judge's condition.

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