A judge's decision to move back the sentencing date for a man convicted of sexual abuse caused a member of the victim's family to become so agitated that paramedics had to be called to the Webster County Courthouse Friday.
Gary E. Trueblood, 49, of Lehigh, had already pleaded guilty on March 5 to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was supposed to be sentenced in District Court Friday morning.
But when the hearing began, Trueblood's attorney, Charles Kenville, asked that sentencing be delayed because of his client's apparent physical and mental state at the time.
"He's been having trouble sleeping," Kenville said. "And he does seem a little bit dazed when I speak to him."
The possibility of Trueblood's condition being self-induced was discussed.
Jennifer Bonzer, assistant Webster County attorney, initially disagreed with the motion to continue, but after seeing Trueblood appear to fall asleep during the hearing she changed her mind.
When District Court Judge Thomas Bice agreed with the motion and ended the hearing, a woman who had been sitting with the victim began yelling obscenities and attempted to run towards Trueblood, but was stopped by people in the courtroom.
After that outburst, a boy who Bonzer later identified as the victim's brother began crying and collapsed in the third floor hallway outside the courtroom.
Paramedics evaluated the boy's condition, then left and the boy was able to leave the courthouse with his family.
The victim and her family are not being identified because she is a victim of sexual abuse.
Although he agreed to postpone the sentencing, Bice said the decision was made "with reluctance."
"This court is highly suspicious of Mr. Trueblood's conduct," Bice said.
Kenville, who has been representing Trueblood since the case was sent to District Court, told the court his client's behavior was something he'd never seen before, describing it as a "first-time issue."
He said he'll make sure Trueblood receives medical attention.
Webster County Attorney Ricki Osborn said Friday afternoon that Trueblood's hearing had been rescheduled for Wednesday.
Bice had strong words for Trueblood before the hearing ended.
"We're not going away," he told Trueblood. "You get your rest, because your day of judgment awaits."
Contact Peter Kaspari at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org