A virtual court hearing on a domestic violence case took an unexpected turn when the accused was discovered to be in the same home as the victim, despite there being a no-contact order in place.
Judge Jeffrey Middleton was live-streaming the hearing, where Coby Harris, 21, was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, Mary Lindsey, in her Sturgis, Mich., home on Feb. 9, Fox News reported.
In addition to the judge, Harris, who was out on bond at the time, and Lindsey being on the Zoom call, prosecutors and attorneys were also present.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Davis noticed that something wasn’t right as she questioned Lindsey about what took place during the February incident.
Lindsey appeared nervous and was evasive in her answers, as her eyes kept darting to her side.
As the defense attorney objected to a question posed by the prosecutor, Lindsey can be seen suddenly looking hard to her right off-camera. Her boyfriend’s screen goes blank at the same time.
Davis quickly put one and one together, coming up with two people being in the same residence.
“Your honor, I have reason to believe that the defendant is in the same apartment as the complaining witness right now, and I am extremely scared for her safety,” she said. “And the fact that she’s looking off to the side and he’s moving around — I want some confirmation that she is safe before we continue.”
The judge asked Lindsey and Harris where they were, requesting a specific address.
After Harris offered an address, after determining that the defendant was attending the hearing via a smartphone, the savvy judge told him, “I want you to walk out to the front of the house and show me the house number on the house.”
You knew the gig was up when Harris objected to request, throwing out a weak excuse that he didn’t have enough battery power in his phone to do that.
As all of this was taking place, a police officer participating in the virtual hearing could be seen speaking with someone on the phone with his microphone muted.
Turns out, he was taking measures to have the police go check on Lindsey.
And just that quick, an officer is at the home.
As the victim goes to answer the door, Davis tells her to take her phone with her so they can see that she is safe. Lindsey is seen opening the door and speaking with the person outside before her screen suddenly goes blank.
Shortly thereafter, a nervous-looking Harris stands up and his screen goes blank.
After a few minutes, Harris suddenly reappeared onscreen with a cigarette in his mouth — a cop can be seen in the background.
“Your honor, me and Mary both don’t want the no-contact, I ask that that be dropped,” he said. “I’m sorry I lied to you. I knew the cops were outside. I don’t know why I lied to you.”
The exasperated prosecutor can be seen palming her face as she realized that her hunch was correct.
“Mr. Harris, I advise don’t say anything else,” Judge Middleton interjected. “Take the cigarette out of your mouth. The hearing is adjourned. Your bond is canceled.”
The judge also informed the defendant that he may be charged with obstruction of juctice.
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