(ARIZONA REPUBLIC) — A Las Vegas courtroom erupted in drama Thursday when a federal judge ordered a defendant in the Bundy Ranch standoff trial to get off the stand, struck his testimony, dismissed jurors and abruptly left the bench.
Jurors looked stunned as Eric Parker returned to the defense table with his head hung and then buried his face in his hands, according to lawyers in the case.
“He put his head down on the counsel table and appeared to be crying,” defense lawyer Shawn Perez said. “My observation of the jury was they were looking at everybody in the courtroom and going, ‘What just happened?’ “
Perez, who represents Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma, one of four defendants being retried for their roles in the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff, said everyone in the courtroom — from jurors to lawyers to observers — was stunned into momentary silence.
Parker’s lawyer, Jess Marchese of Las Vegas, said he is still trying to wrap his head around what happened, saying he’s never experienced anything remotely similar.
“I looked at some of those jurors and they looked aghast,” Marchese said Thursday. “I looked at one woman (juror), and she looked like she had just seen someone get their head cut off.”
Marchese said Parker was distraught and started crying when he sat down.
Parker was attempting to tell jurors what he saw during the standoff over a barrage of objections from prosecutors, who said he was violating court orders not to talk about what happened in the run-up to the standoff.
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