Defendant in murder trial stabs defense attorney and prosecutor with pen

MARTINEZ, CA – A dramatic scene unfolded in a Martinez courtroom on Monday as a murder defendant allegedly attacked his defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney with a pen. The defendant, Ramello Randle, 28, was said to have broken free from a restraint device before launching his attack.

Randle, who was on trial for murder, allegedly used his defense attorney’s pen to stab him in the face and head. Afterward, he reportedly charged at the prosecutor, who suffered a minor hand injury. The incident was brought under control when a courtroom deputy intervened and arrested Randle.

A handwritten note allegedly penned by Randle before the attack was later discovered. The note contained a single word – “sorry.”

The defense attorney, Matthew Fregi, was treated at the scene for his injuries. The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Bell, was also examined for his hand injury. Witnesses reported that Bell had retaliated against Randle after he was attacked.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office reported that the incident took place during a homicide trial at the A.F. Bray Courthouse. Randle, an Oakland resident, had attempted to attack the District Attorney after assaulting his attorney. The courtroom was swiftly evacuated, and both attorneys declined medical attention.

Following the incident, Randle was returned to the Martinez Detention Facility. He is expected to face additional charges, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and battery.

The trial is set to continue on Tuesday with Fregi, Bell, and Randle all expected to return to court. The jury will determine Randle’s guilt on charges related to the alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend and attempted murder of a man during a child custody dispute in 2020.

Randle is accused of collaborating with another man, Christopher Slaughter, to murder Jonaye Lahkel Bridges, the mother of his child. Prosecutors allege that Randle tracked Bridges’ car, followed her to a convenience store in Antioch, and shot at her and a man accompanying her, resulting in Bridges’ death.

The case against Randle reportedly includes evidence such as text messages, location trackers, and fingerprints on the alleged murder weapon. Following the courtroom attack, Fregi assured the East Bay Times that he was “fine” and downplayed the incident as “no big deal.”

Randle’s courtroom behavior had previously led to a mistrial in November 2022. The case was nearing its conclusion when Randle verbally abused Bell during the cross-examination of Randle’s mother, a defense witness. He also disrespected Judge Charles “Ben” Burch, resulting in the revocation of his right to self-representation and the declaration of a mistrial.

Fregi became Randle’s attorney after a September 2023 hearing where Randle allegedly tried to hit attorney Lawrence Strauss, who escaped unscathed. On Monday, Fregi expressed hope that the trial could be concluded, stating that he held no ill will towards Randle.