California fugitive attacks public defender during Billings court appearance

2014-01-21T15:57:00Z 2014-05-02T14:50:09Z California fugitive attacks public defender during Billings court appearanceBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A man who is wanted in California hit the public defender representing him during a Billings court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

David Anthony Aguilar, 32, appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court by video from the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on a charge that he is wanted in California for parole violation.

During his appearance, Aguilar, who was handcuffed, hit public defender Erik Moore on the side of the head.

Additional officers could be seen on the video screen rushing to restrain Aguilar, who was shouting. His motives for the attack were not immediately clear.

Sgt. Hans DeMello, a detention officer at the jail, said Moore returned to his office after jail staff checked him for injuries, which included a small laceration.

Judge David A. Carter ordered Aguilar to finish the court appearance. Aguilar waived his right to extradition proceedings, which will speed up the process of returning him to California for prosecution.

David Duke, the head of the Billings public defender's office, took over and represented Aguilar and the rest of the defendants making initial court appearances Tuesday.

DeMello said at about 5 p.m. that deputies were still interviewing Aguilar and that the man could face an assault charge.

Public defenders appear in Justice Court by video from the county jail with inmates on a daily basis, representing the defendants in their initial court appearances.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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