SAN DIEGO -- A mistrial was declared Monday when a home-invasion robbery suspect smeared human feces on his attorney's face then threw more at the jury.
Weusi McGowan, 37, was upset because San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser refused to remove Deputy Alternate Public Defender Jeffrey Martin from the case, prosecutor Christopher Lawson said.
At the mid-morning break, McGowan produced a plastic baggie filled with fecal matter and spread it on Martin's hair and face, then flung the excrement toward the jury box, hitting the briefcase of juror No. 9 but missing the juror himself.
"That juror didn't even see it coming," Lawson said.
The prosecutor said the defendant was compliant after the outburst and was taken into custody without further incident.
After lunch, Fraser dismissed the jury, telling them McGowan would have to get a new lawyer and that his trial would be delayed.
The judge scheduled a status conference for Feb. 9 and raised the defendant's bail from $250,000 to $1 million, finding he is a danger to the community.
Lawson said McGowan originally became upset last week when he claimed one of the jurors saw him in shackles as he entered the courtroom. Fraser dismissed all jurors who saw the defendant in shackles, the prosecutor said.
"The judge had been very fair," Lawson said. "All jurors who saw it were dismissed."
Fraser had also denied McGowan's attempt to represent himself, saying the request was untimely, Lawson said.
The prosecutor said the defendant had previously wiped human feces on himself and was examined by doctors to ensure he was mentally competent to stand trial.
McGowan is charged with kidnapping for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and other counts and could face assault charges in connection with the attack on his attorney and jury, Lawson said.
The prosecutor said the defendant hit a man with a rock in a sock as the victim came out of his home to investigate a commotion on Oct. 17, 2007.
McGowan allegedly ransacked the man's apartment then stole some of the victim's belongings and took off in the victim's car.
He was arrested 20 minutes later, Lawson said.