Another Tulare County Defendant Arrested During Courtroom Stabbing
Last week we reported about the former correctional deputy assaults of an officer in court.
His name has made the news numerous times and once again Michael Risenhoover, 34, of Tulare, did not disappoint as he appeared in court Oct. 31 to be read his verdict of guilty on different counts of sexual assault against a minor. The courtroom erupted at about 11 a.m. when the former Correctional Deputy for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office attempted to assault the lead detective in the case.
Less than a week later, Rafael Mendoza, 29, from Watsonville, who was on trial for homicide, assaulted his public defender while in the courtroom, according to the Sheriff’s report.
Mendoza was in court starting his third week of jury trial for homicide and various other charges and things quickly went wrong. As the jury began to enter the courtroom, the defendant produced a makeshift weapon and cut his public defenders face. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Deputy assigned as the courtroom bailiff along with Tulare Police Department Officers that were in court were able to detain the defendant and render first aid to the victim.
John Shepard, the victim, is a seven year veteran with the Public Defender’s Office who was assigned this case and had just begun the third week of jury trial with the defendant. They were in Department Six, presided by Judge Saucedo. Following this incident the case has been declared a mistrial.
Mendoza was arrested May 26 by the Tulare Police Department for a homicide that occurred in their jurisdiction. He now faces a slew of other charges, but according to Tulare Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Sergeant Chris Douglass, he showed absolutely no remorse. “Sometimes we don’t know what is going on in these people’s heads,” she said, “but there is an obvious lack of remorse.”
Fresno Bee: Tulare County Murder Suspect Stabs His Attorney
San Luis Obispo Tribune: Defendant Stabs Lawyer in Tulare County Courtroom