Father attacks daughter's killer in court

crime | Aug 31, 2015 | By Martin Barillas

The decorum of a Michigan circuit court was interrupted on August 28 when an angry father attacked his 3-year-old daughter's murderer in court. In a video captured during the proceedings at a Wayne County court, defendant Clifford Thomas is seen sitting before the judge when Dwayne Smith - the father of the child - approached him from behind and landed a powerful sucker punch.
 
Thomas, who was convicted of the involuntary homicide of 3-year-old Jamila Smith, responded in kind as the two exchanged blows and expletives before sheriff's deputies could break up the fight.
 
                Convicted: Jasmine Gordon and Clifford Thomas
 
Also convicted was Jamila's mother, Jasmine Gordon. In the video, she is seen crying hysterically and calling "Jesus, Jesus," as her attorney, John McWilliams, sought to comfort her. "It was pretty scary," said counselor McWilliams, who expressed relief that no one was injured in the fray.
 
Jamila died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma back in September 2014. Her death was ruled a homicide.
 
On August 27, Thomas and Gordon were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and were awaiting sentencing when the courtroom attack occurred. Smith, Jamila's father, was not allowed to return to the chamber. However, according to Wayne County Circuit Court spokesperson Paula Bridges, "No charges were pursued against those involved as the judge declined to hold Dwayne Smith in contempt of court."
 
                    Jamila Smith was 3 years old when she was bludgeoned to death
 
As for the couple who were held responsible for the death of the little girl, Gordon was sentenced to seven to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter along with 14 to 25 years for first-degree child abuse as an aider and abettor, to be served concurrently. Thomas, Gordon's male companion, was sentenced to six to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter and one to two years for resisting and obstructing a police officer.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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