A defendant who hurled chairs at a judge and courtroom staff after a probation violation hearing has been charged with three felonies.
The Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Jordan L. Rhoades, 20, of 465 Clifty Drive, with:
Battery resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer, a Level 5 felony
Attempted battery against a public safety official, a Level 6 felony
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Offense against a computer user, a Level 6 felony
Level 5 and 6 felonies are considered the least serious among felony charges in Indiana, with Level 1 cases the most serious.
A Level 5 felony carries a sentencing range of 1 to 6 years with an advisory sentencing of 3 years. A Level 6 felony carries a sentencing range of 6 months to 2½ years, with an advisory sentence of 1 year.
All three felonies were filed in Bartholomew Superior Court 1.
Rhoades got off on the wrong foot the morning of Feb. 9, when he was late for a scheduled 8:30 a.m. hearing to revoke his probation in Bartholomew County Superior Court 2.
He arrived about 10 a.m. and asked Judge Kathleen “Kitty” Tighe Coriden to sentence him immediately rather than do an initial hearing or fact-finding in the case, the judge said. Coriden called for Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Fisk to attend the hearing and then sentenced Rhoades to one year in jail.
When Rhoades went back to sit in the back row of gallery seats in the courtroom, he said a vulgarity loud enough for the judge to hear, she said. When the judge said “Excuse me,” Rhoades said it again and Coriden added a 60-day contempt-of-court sentence on to Rhoades’ jail time.
He then said it again and Coriden added 30 more days to the contempt of court sentence.
Rhoades then stood, picked up a chair and hurled it at the court bench, hitting Fisk on the leg, slightly injuring him, a video of the incident shows. Rhoades then methodically picked up another chair and threw it at the bench toward Coriden and the court staff, followed by two more hurls.
The incident was captured on video by courtroom cameras.
Court reporter Sue Baker and Danielle Williams, a former jail transport worker who is training to work in Coriden’s court, saw the first chair thrown across the courtroom toward Fisk and backed away from their desks along with Coriden through the courtroom door to offices behind the bench. There, they pushed an emergency alarm summoning help, Coriden said.
The chairs hit the court staff’s computer monitors, damaging the equipment and scattering paper and the desk’s contents on the floor, court officials said.
The battery-resulting-in-bodily-injury charge relates to the chair hitting Fisk on the leg, court documents state.
The attempted-battery charge pertains to Rhoades’ throwing chairs at the judge, court documents state.
The third felony, offense against a computer user, refers to the damage Rhoades is accused of causing to Superior Court 2 court personnel’s computer.
When interviewed by police, Rhoades admitted he had thrown the chairs in the courtroom, but claimed he was just trying to hit the computer, court documents state.
After throwing the chairs, Rhoades left the courtroom and sprawled on a court bench for a few moments before walking to the courthouse first floor, where he was arrested without incident by Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department deputy Jonathan Allen. Those actions were also on video for investigators to review.
Rhoades is being held without bond in the Bartholomew County Jail, serving the 90-day contempt citation from Coriden.