LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The sentencing of a Kentucky man on Tuesday for violating his probation quickly plunged a courtroom into chaos when he tried to make a run for it.
Raitonn Woodford, 29, appeared at the Jefferson County Circuit Court on a probation revocation hearing after previously being sentenced to probation for drugs and weapons charges, according to court documents obtained by WDRB.
When Woodford was sentenced to five years in prison by Jefferson Circuit Judge Barry Willett, he then attempted to dash out of the courtroom.
In video from inside the courtroom obtained by WDRB, Woodford can be seen leaping in front of the camera that was focused on an empty witness chair and shouts can be heard.
“Oh, come on!” the judge can be heard saying. “Come on!”
A woman who was later identified as Woodford’s girlfriend made pleas for him to stop, screaming “No baby!”
“Nineteen years on the bench—that’s the first time I’ve had an inmate attempt to leave the courtroom in that fashion.”
– Judge Barry Willett
The camera then was switched to the back of the courtroom while a sheriff’s deputy and Louisville Metro Police officer were able to stop him. Woodford, however, got back up and an officer had to tackle him, according to the arrest report obtained by WDRB. The officer suffered an arm injury during the scuffle.
“The record will reflect that Mr. Woodford made an unsuccessful effort to escape,” Judge Willett says on the video.
As Woodford is brought back into the courtroom in handcuffs and ushered away, his girlfriend protests to the judge that she was pushed by one of the deputies during the scuffle, according to the report.
“He pulled my hair, and that’s not fair!” she exclaims as she is pulled out of the courtroom by a deputy.
“Nothing like pushing the red button and having the cavalry come,” Judge Willett said.
A few minutes later, Judge Willett allowed Woodford’s girlfriend to address the Court about her perceived mistreatment in the scuffle.
“I didn’t do anything, I tried to stop him!” she said, speaking of her boyfriend.
“I noticed that,” Judge Willett said.
Then she motioned toward the deputy. “There’s no reason for him to put his hands on me.”
“He didn’t have to do that at all to me,” she added. “I don’t feel like there’s justice. He didn’t have to put his hands on me.”
“Okay, I’ve heard you,” the judge says. “I don’t have any control over what you’re talking about. I didn’t see what you saw. What I saw was that Mr. Woodford made an unsuccessful attempt to escape the courtroom and he was apprehended by law enforcement.”
“But I understand that. I tried to stop that. But there’s no reason for that man to have to … pull my hair or push me,” she said. “But you’re condoning that right?”
“I’m not condoning any—no wait a minute!” the judge shouted. “Come back up here right now!”
“Okay,” she said. “Okay. Okay.”
“Don’t you tell me I’m condoning anything. I just told you what I observed. You made an effort to stop him from leaving. I appreciate that. But in the thick of it, when your boyfriend is fighting with deputies, people might get pushed out of the way. Maybe it was for your own safety. He was gonna hurt somebody. So don’t tell me I’m condoning anything. I did not say that.”
“Okay,” she replied.
“Everybody is fortunate nobody got seriously hurt in that effort,” Judge Willitt continued. “Nineteen years on the bench—that’s the first time I’ve had an inmate attempt to leave the courtroom in that fashion. I understand you’re upset. I’m upset!”
She tearfully left the courtroom a moment later.
Woodford is now facing charges of second-degree escape, fleeing or evading police, resisting arrest and third-degree assault. He is currently being held in Louisville Metro Corrections.