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North Carolina Jail Prisoner Killed During Court Appearance

Willie Forrest, 37, was fatally shot by a Northampton sheriff?s deputy, after he grabbed another deputy?s gun and fired two shots.

Forrest, who had a history of courtroom violence, was standing trial, on Wednesday July 12, 2006, for three felony charges. He became enraged when the judge would not allow him to fire his attorney Sam Dixon.

Despite the fact that Forrest was fully restrained he managed to overpower a deputy and wrestle away his gun. He was immediately pinned against a wall but still managed to fire off two shots. One shot went wild while another struck a deputy in the arm. A total of six shots were fired during the scuffle that fatally wounded Forrest.

?He was almost like a wild animal,? said Dixon. ?I really have never seen anything like it in my life.?

But attorney George Hughes had seen first-hand how violent Forrest could become. In January 2005, Forrest stood trial for kidnapping his aunt at knifepoint. Hughes was his attorney.

When a jury returned a guilty verdict Forrest viciously attacked Hughes. It took five deputies to stop the assault.

Hughes suffered a fractured skull, his right cheekbone was broken, his left eye was blackened and one eye and ear required stitches.

Forrest had a lengthy criminal record which included attempted murder, kidnapping, assault on an officer and habitual assault. He was currently on trial for holding a man and wife hostage in their home. When the man refused to disclose whether there was any money in the house Forrest shot him.

Forrest was currently serving 56 years for attempted murder. The wounded deputy was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. North Carolina?s State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.

Sources: Associated Press; WRAL-TV

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