Capital murder defendant causes more disruptions as trial proceeds

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A capital murder defendant with a history of courtroom outbursts and disruptive behavior continued the trend Thursday and voluntarily left the courtroom after telling the judge he felt he wasn’t getting a fair trial.

Glen Leon Dukes, 46, a convicted pimp who currently is serving two life sentences for a trafficking conviction, faces an additional sentence of life without parole if convicted of the 2012 capital murder of Jacqueline Johnson, 24.

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When state District Judge Ron Rangel gave Dukes an opportunity to address the court Thursday before the jury had been brought in, he lodged a complaint he first made earlier in the week — that the jury was biased against him because only one African American had been seated.

He also claimed his defense attorney Cornelius Cox “pulled a Houdini” and did not help him adequately prepare for trial.

“Y’all settin’ me up, homeboy,” he said to Rangel. “Y’all don’t want me to have a fair trial. I might as well not even come here. That’s real talk.”

Dukes moved toward the door that leads from the courtroom to a holding cell for defendants in custody as he continued talking.

“I bet you won’t put that on the record,” he said as the court reporter seemingly took down every word.

A relative of Dukes who had been listening to proceedings from the gallery then stood up and pointed at Cox.

“We got to talk,” the man said as he moved to leave the courtroom. “I’ll be seeing you out here.”

On his way out, the man also addressed Dukes’ other defense attorney, Vincent Callahan, who also had been sitting in the gallery, insisting he get his phone number.

After a brief delay and still outside the presence of the jury, Cox addressed the court, calling the relatives’ actions toward himself and Callahan a “subtle threat.”

“My position is I still think I can continue to try this case,” he said, asking the court to take notice of the interaction between Dukes’ relative and himself. “Threats, I don’t take lightly.”

Dukes, who has a trail of tattooed tears streaming from one eye, along with “666” and “Beast” inked on his forehead, is accused of kidnapping Johnson, tying her to a chair and suffocating her with a plastic bag before setting her body on fire.

He did re-enter the courtroom voluntarily before the jury was brought into court, and sat quietly during testimony from a fingerprint expert and a medical examiner.

Testimony is expected to resume Friday morning in the 379th state District Courtroom.

Twitter: @MichelleCasady