A Somerset man jailed Thursday after disrupting Pulaski Circuit Court proceedings is scheduled to next appear in court on May 18.
Justin Lee Puckett, 29, was booked into the Pulaski County Detention Center at 2:21 p.m. upon the order from Circuit Judge Jeffrey Burdette that he be held in contempt for 180 days.
The courtroom can often be the scene for moments of high drama, but what happened Thursday in Judge Burdette’s courtroom was unusual to say the least.
From video provided by the Pulaski Circuit Clerk’s Office, Puckett — dressed in firefighter’s turnout gear — stormed into the courtroom yelling “518, can you hear me?” He appeared to be looking for a fireman with that call number.
Bailiffs acted quickly to remove Puckett from the courtroom. As they ushered the young man through a side door to where inmates awaiting hearings are held, they passed a table at which defense attorneys were seated. Puckett pointed and shouted at one as the bailiffs escorted him out.
Puckett’s Facebook page indicates he is a veteran of Iraq as well as a firefighter. According to an incident report filed by Sgt. Tommy Maybrier, Puckett entered the Judicial Center through the exit lane in full gear and with a radio in hand. Court security officers indicated Friday that having a fireman enter in uniform is not unusual.
In a second order filed Friday, Judge Burdette noted that medical attention had been rendered and Puckett was found “medically fit” though he did test positive for THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine.
In light of the subsequent evidence, Judge Burdette ordered the May 18 hearing “to consider the present need for a mental health evaluation or drug treatment, and the possibility of purging the remainder of his contempt sentence.”
The judge further appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Puckett, who remains lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center at press time.
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