Courtroom Erupts in Brawl After Judge Reads Guilty Verdict in Murder Case


It’s not unusual for emotions to run high during an important court hearing, but defendants in a Florida murder case just took their outrage to the next level.

On Friday, a courtroom in Ocala descended into chaos after four men were found guilty of murder. Upset by that verdict, the accused men went on a rampage against their own defense team and others within striking distance.

According to WOFL News, four people were in court for the killing of an Ocala man which took place two years ago.

“They were on trial for the June 2016 murder of Courtney Levar London, 28, who was shot and killed in his Ocala home in front of his kids,” reported The Gainesville Sun. “The verdicts had been read and the jury was being ushered back to the jury room to collect their belongings when the fight broke out.”

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As the reality of the guilty verdict set in for the murderers, one of the criminals named Travis Davis launched punches at his attorney, Daniel Hernandez.

“I got about five punches to the back and the side of my head, forehead. I got a few bumps and bruises, some scratches,” Hernandez said.

Surveillance video captured the chaos. In addition to Davis, defendants Kiila Richardson, Branden Banks, and Kelvon Grimmage all joined the free-for-all.

Sheriff’s deputies quickly engaged the melee, using tasers and hands-on tactics to subdue the enraged criminals.

Did law enforcement react appropriately to this attack?

At least one person — Hernandez — was injured in the brawl. “I’ve been trying cases for almost 40 years, and I’d never been struck by a defendant before,” he explained.

The defense attorney recalled the chaos that erupted in the usually calm courtroom.

“I’m bleeding out of my hand, I’m not sure how that happened. I guess I may have hit the table or something, so my vision is bad, when I can’t find my glasses,” he said. “So for two or three minutes, you’re just reacting. You’re not really thinking.”

The attorney added that he had no idea things were about to turn physical.

“We’d had our disagreements on some things, but we never, nothing physical had ever happened, and I certainly was not expecting to get punched,” he told WOFL.

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The man who started the brawl, Travis Davis, did return to the courtroom after order had been restored, and apologized on the record for his actions. Compared to his murder conviction, any charges of assault seemed trivial, and WOFL reported that he would likely not be charged with the courtroom outburst.

Even without that additional charge, he and the other convicts will be facing life sentences.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.