If you watch just one twitter video today, make it this one, if only for the reaction of Brice Rhodes’ attorney after he suggests the judge is having sex with the prosecutor. And then accuses judge of being in KKK. pic.twitter.com/k0Saf2kEwa
— Jason Riley (@JasonRileyWDRB) March 10, 2020
We almost have no words for this courtroom rant in Louisville, Kentucky. Triple murder defendant Brice Rhodes lashed out at the judge: He suggested the jurist had been having sex with the prosecutor and/or was a “secret” member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Watch it in the video above.
The defendant complained about the court rejecting his filings.
“It’s my right to file a pro se motion, and it’s my right to speak on what I need to speak on,” Rhodes said.
He claimed that Judge Charles Cunningham was showing “favoritism” to the prosecution.
“I don’t know if you’ve got some type of sexual relationship going on, or what you got going on, but I’m definitely going to speak my mind,” Rhodes said. He continued to mock Cunningham, asking if the judge was racist, a “secret” Ku Klux Klan member. In the end, however, it was the defendant who ended the topic of conversation. He said the higher courts would take care of his complaints.
“So say less,” he told the judge. “On to the next subject. Say less.”
Tuesday’s events might have been amusing, but the underlying crimes are anything but funny. Rhodes allegedly killed three people over the course of May 2016, according to WDRB. First he allegedly shot and killed Christopher Jones, and then later murdered two witnesses–Larry Ordway, 14, and Ordway’s brother Maurice Gordon, 16–out of concern they might implicate him in the Jones case. He burned the teens’ bodies, authorities said. His three co-defendants–Anjuan Carter, who was 15 during the 2016 murders, Tieren Coleman, then 19, and Jacorey Lamont Taylor, then 17–have pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Rhodes.
Although the defendant mentioned filing a pro se motion, he does have an attorney. That’s lawyer Tom Griffiths of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, sitting to Rhodes’ left in the video above. The attorney removed his glasses, and whispered something to the defendant after the outburst escalated to the “sexual relationship” and “Ku Klux Klan” insults.
The attorney-client relationship has been rocky. Rhodes had already lost several other lawyers before Griffiths joined. As with Cunningham, the defendant accused the lawyer of being racist.
“He definitely needs to be removed from my case due to the racist comments he made to me,” Rhodes said last year, according to WAVE3. He wanted Griffiths off the case, but Cunningham was immediately reluctant because it took a while to get a replacement attorney.
“It took us a long time to find somebody,” the judge said.
Debbie Wren, the victims’ grandmother, reportedly said that the defendant was just “playing the system.”
“Every time he comes in, he tries to get rid of his lawyer,” she said. “He’s just prolonging and prolonging.”
Law&Crime asked Griffiths about the Tuesday outburst, and the hearing last year. The attorney said he doesn’t plan on leaving the case.
“Last year we gave notice to the court and prosecution that Brice Rhodes suffered from a mental illness,” Griffiths told Law&Crime in a statement on Wednesday. “This outburst and previous statements are a manifestation of his condition rather than claims of fact. I lead the fourth legal team to represent him on these charges. His actions and statements have driven off prior counsel, but I intend to stay in the case and save him from everyone (including himself).”
[Screengrab of Rhodes and Griffiths via Jason Riley]