• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Inmate causes scare in courthouse annex


Jessie Nance (WCDC photo)

A Lexington man is accused of causing a ruckus in the Woodford Courthouse Annex Monday afternoon that led District Judge Mary Jane Phelps to leave the courtroom and call 911. The incident happened about the same time that a prisoner in Michigan managed to grab a law enforcement officer's gun inside a courthouse and fatally shoot two bailiffs before being fatally shot himself. Jesse Nance, 31, of Lexington, was being arraigned for a variety of charges relating to an incident early Saturday morning that began in Fayette County and ended at the Marathon station at the intersection of Huntertown and Lexington roads. Nance was charged with reckless driving, DUI, first degree wanton endangerment, no operator's license, resisting arrest, third degree assault and menacing. The citation, issued by the University of Kentucky Police Department, said Nance was found with a young child in his lap, and admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana and crack cocaine. Woodford County Sheriff Wayne Wright said Nance became angry Monday when, because of his previous criminal record, he couldn't get his bond reduced. "The judge was reviewing his criminal history and he was getting agitated there, saying that's been resolved, that's done, it's over with ." Wright said. "He became very upset, profanities, and he turns and walks away from the bench, cussing . he flips the table like it's nothing. He is handcuffed and he is shackled." Wright said Deputy Larry Sutherland engaged Nance and was assisted by court security officer Lloyd Jones, bailiff Mark Edwards and Chief Woodford Detention Center Deputy Susan Boyd. "She was very adamant that he was trying to disarm Deputy Sutherland and she retreated to the chambers and barricaded herself in place," Wright said. "When I called 911, I told them we had an inmate that had (attacked) a bailiff and I believed that he was going for the gun, and we need backup now," Phelps said. "I don't think we can be cautious enough. It could have been a lot worse." After Nance was taken to a holding cell there, Phelps said he screamed so loudly that everyone in the building could hear it. After Nance was taken back to the Woodford Detention Center, Phelps returned to the courtroom to finish the day's docket. Nance will be back in court July 18 with District Judge Vanessa Dickson presiding, at which time he'll likely face additional charges related to Monday's incident. Wright said Sutherland was taken to Bluegrass Community Hospital, where he was treated for abrasions and bruises, then released. "I've been a judge for 18 years, and I've never seen anything like that," Phelps said.

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