‘Tongan Crip’ attacks witness in court; shot dead by deputy marshal

‘Tongan Crip’ attacks witness in court; shot dead by deputy marshal

[Ed. – The mistrial is cool, of course, but the trial seems kind of moot at this point.]

SALT LAKE CITY – An accused street gang member standing trial in federal court in Salt Lake City was shot to death by a deputy marshal on Monday as the defendant attacked a witness who was testifying against him, federal law-enforcement officials said.

Siale Angilau, 25, lunged at the witness wielding what appeared to be a pen or pencil in his hand, prompting a federal officer in the courtroom to open fire to halt the attack, according to Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

It is routine practice for federal trial defendants to be unrestrained when appearing before a jury, Rydalch said, and Angilau was not handcuffed.

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The FBI said Angilau, who was struck in the chest by the marshal’s gunfire, was still breathing when he was removed from the courtroom by stretcher, but later died of his wounds at a local hospital.

By then, U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell, who was presiding over the case, had declared a mistrial, citing the prejudicial effect the episode would have had on jurors who she said were left visibly “shaken and upset.”

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