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Authorities deem defendant too unruly for court appearance

By Joe Beck

Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr., charged with attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer and several related offenses, was involved in another confrontation with police Tuesday, according to his attorney and Warren County Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp.

Speaking at a scheduled hearing on Burrell's case, Hupp said deputies had told him the defendant had become "extremely unruly" while on his way to the courtroom and would not be appearing. The hearing went forward without Burrell, and Hupp scheduled a jury trial for July 29 and 30.

Deputy Public Defender Carter Foulds said in an interview afterward that deputies told him Burrell had been "a little obstreperous" while being transported from the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester to the Warren County Jail before his court appearance.

"Apparently he didn't want to come to court for some reason," Foulds said in an interview after the hearing. "I don't know exactly why."

Authorities have accused Burrell of inflicting injuries on three law enforcement officers with his bare hands in two fights in less than a year. All three victims were hospitalized after the confrontations, according to court records.

One officer, Front Royal Sgt. Bryan Courtney, missed months away from work recovering from his injuries after he stopped Burrell on the street to question him about a report of a man exposing himself, according to court documents. Police say Burrell attacked Courtney, gained control of his baton and struck him with it several times before another officer, Detective Jason Lethcoe, was able to intervene and make an arrest.

In a more recent case, the Warren County Sheriff's Office has accused Burrell of hitting Deputy Thomas Ratigan in the face, breaking his nose and jaw in two places. The alleged incident happened in the Warren County Jail and led authorities to transfer Burrell to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

Foulds said Burrell is being held in isolation in the detention center.

"Part of his problem is that he perceives himself as being tormented by other inmates, so isolation is probably a good thing, although probably it's not the most comfortable way to serve time," Foulds said.

Foulds said Burrell may also have been fortunate that he didn't appear in court.

"Frankly, it was as much for his own good, so he doesn't pick up a contempt of court citation, Foulds said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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