Murder suspect triggers scuffle

WARREN – A 21-year-old man wanted for murder in Detroit complained about the shackles around his waist Thursday, touching off scuffles inside and outside the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice.

Rickey Smith, who has an address at 690 Woodbine Ave. S.E. in Warren, was in Rice’s courtroom for an extradition hearing when he complained the chains around his waist were too tight. Rice had a deputy check the shackles, which were found to be properly fitted.

After Smith continued to complain, Rice and assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker told deputies to remove Smith to Trumbull County Jail and bring him back on Tuesday when court opens after the Memorial Day holiday.

Deputies said they took Smith out of the courtroom and were re-securing the shackles around one of his legs when he continued to resist and was taken to the floor while one of the deputies used pepper spray on the man.

In the meantime, Smith’s younger brother, Peirre Earl, 13, 358 Voorheis St., Pontiac, Mich., rushed the courtroom door from inside the room in an attempt to help his brother. Earl reportedly either punched or elbowed Deputy Joellen Weaver on the right side of her face.

Earl was being held in the juvenile lockup, charged with obstructing justice and assault on a police officer.

Two other family members also attempted to leave the courtroom but were ordered back to their seat, including a female who was placed in handcuffs briefly before getting a warning from Rice, who then released her from custody.

Smith’s extradition hearing was scheduled to have him sent back to Detroit to face the murder charge. Becker said he had no details in the Michigan case that Smith is accused in.

Deputies said they would review security video that captured the scuffles on tape before considering any local charges on Smith.