The murder trial of Douglas Christian reached a stunning conclusion in a Georgia courtroom on Thursday, when Christian was found not guilty of murder, only for the judge to send his defense attorney to jail.
Christian was charged in the death of Makenzie Puyear, who prosecutors said died from drug use after working as a prostitute. Christian was accused of drugging the woman. While the jury did find him guilty of three drug offenses, they acquitted him of the murder charge.
The reading of the verdict, however, was delayed by an hour because Christian’s lawyer Anastasios Manettas didn’t show up right away after being notified that the jury had reached a decision, according to WSB-TV. Manettas told the judge he had gone to a bank, but Judge Aaron Mason was not satisfied with this excuse, holding Manettas in contempt of court.
“You are in contempt,” Judge Mason said. “For that you, can serve 48 hours in the Clayton County Jail. Purge yourself of that by paying $1,000 to this court by close of business tomorrow, September 21. Failure to do that will result in the execution to serve 48 hours.”
Manettas opted for the jail time instead of paying up, immediately asking the judge, “And Your Honor, when can I serve that 48 hours, if I choose to do that?”
“You can do that right now,” Judge Mason said. “Take him. Easy.”
Manettas then walked over to a court officer to be led into custody, saying, “Thank you, judge.”
Manettas’ co-counsel told the local news station that Manettas did this as a matter of principle, and that they also plan on appealing Christian’s drug conviction. Christian was sentenced to the maximum of 40 years in prison, with him to serve 25 years.
[Image via WSB-TV screengrab]