Video from an Ohio courtroom shows a man running up and attacking the defendant, punching him multiple times in the side of the head.
The surveillance video was released by a spokesperson from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, who said the attacker, Tonio Hughes, was the biological father of a young boy who was allegedly murdered by the defendant, 22-year-old Desean Brown.
Video shows Brown sitting at the courtroom table during a hearing. Hughes, sitting in the back row of the courtroom, suddenly gets up, runs down the aisle toward Brown and begins punching him in the head.
Two security guards quickly run over and pull the two apart. Though handcuffed, Brown can be seen holding his head for a few moments after the altercation.
"Everything inside him, just the pain and everything took over," family friend Faith Burton told FOX 19 in Cincinnati. "He did what I think any of us would do."
Following the incident, Judge Megan Shanahan found Hughes in contempt of court and sentenced him to seven days at the Hamilton County Justice Center, FOX 19 reported.
Hughes is the father of Nylo Lattimore, a 3-year-old boy who went missing in December 2020.
Brown is accused of fatally stabbing Nylo’s mother, Nyteisha Lattimore, who was his girlfriend at the time, before throwing the boy off a pedestrian bridge in the Ohio River. Authorities believe Nylo was still alive at the time.
The boy’s body hasn’t been recovered despite more than a year of searching in multiple states.
The veteran prosecutor told The Associated Press the case has given him nightmares.
"I can’t even imagine what that little boy was going through," he said.
Brown is charged in both their deaths and faces the death penalty.
This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.