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Three Hurt During Unsuccessful Escape Attempt at Courthouse

September 4, 1993

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Three prisoners overpowered a sheriff’s deputy Friday while they were being led from the courthouse to an adjacent jail, authorities said. The deputy and two lawyers were stabbed in the failed escape.

Ronald Harris, Bruce L. Stipe and a third prisoner were charged in the attack; two other inmates who were being led to the jail at the same time weren’t charged.

The prisoners overpowered Deputy Stacy Stine as he was escorting them through a hallway behind the courtroom to the adjacent parish prison, authorities said.

Harris and Stipe had just been in State District Judge Frank Marullo’s Orleans Parish courtroom for a hearing on various charges, including attempted murder of a policeman and armed robbery.

Marullo said the inmates weren’t shackled.

Stipe allegedly stabbed Stine in the back of the head with a crude homemade weapon that was later shown to reporters and appeared to be a nail with one end covered in tape.

The deputy suffered ″several wounds to the front of his face, particularly around the mouth area - I think some teeth are loose,″ Marullo said. ″He also had blood coming from somewhere on his leg.″ Stine was reported in stable condition Friday night.

Three of the inmates were subdued in the hallway, but Harris and Stipe fled into Marullo’s courtroom and attacked the two lawyers, police said.

Assistant District Attorney Keith Detweiler was cut across the forehead and public defender Gerald Leydecker around the eyes as they tried to stop Stipe, authorities said. Both men were treated at the scene for their cuts.

Stipe was captured inside the courtroom after being subdued by several deputies and court employees. Harris managed to flee several blocks from the courthouse before he was captured, authorities said.

Stipe, 20, was booked on three counts of aggravated battery and attempted aggravated escape; Harris, 29, on two counts of simple battery and aggravated escape.

A third prisoner, Lloyd Page, 21, was booked on battery on a sheriff’s deputy and attempted aggravated escape.

The judge said the incident demonstrated the need for tighter courtroom security.

″Before someone gets killed, I think that we ought to really look at securing this building,″ he said. The courthouse does not have a metal detector.

The bungled escape follows a spate of violence in courthouses across the nation. Last month, a man scheduled to be sentenced for drug dealing stormed a federal courthouse in Topeka, Kan., with guns and pipe bombs. He shot and killed a security officer, then himself.

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