TAMPA — On the first day of Charles Chambers' murder trial, the brother of his alleged victim shouted from the witness stand. Chambers, he said, was a punk and "a freaking killer."
An outraged judge hurried the jury out of the courtroom.
"You know what you've done?" said Hillsborough County Circuit Judge William Fuente. "You've just ruined this trial for your brother, for your family, for your mother, for everyone involved."
Raynaldo Carillo, brother of victim Nelson Carillo, defiantly answered back, "Well, (Chambers) ruined my life and my mother's life. How about that? What's more important around here?"
Thus, the murder trial of Chambers, 36, who refused a public defender and was representing himself, ended in a mistrial Tuesday.
Raynaldo Carillo found himself in handcuffs. He then became apologetic. But Fuente promised him a jail sentence after a new trial is held in April.
Chambers is accused of fatally stabbing Nelson Carillo, 49, in his Tampa home last June. He's also charged with armed burglary and stealing Carillo's car.
Younger brother Raynaldo Carillo was one of the first witnesses to testify Tuesday. A prosecutor asked him to identify a gold necklace that had belonged to his brother.
Carillo said it was the necklace "that punk tried to sell at a pawn shop."
As the judge, prosecutor and bailiffs tried to hush him, Carillo shouted at Chambers, "This is not going to be over, you freaking killer."
After the jury was dismissed and a mistrial declared, Fuente told Carillo he faced six months in jail for direct contempt of court. He had Carillo handcuffed until lawyers could reassemble for a contempt hearing.
When the hearing convened, Carillo expressed remorse, saying all he wanted was to take his mother home to Homestead and help his 9-year-old daughter with her homework.
"I'm sincerely sorry," he said. "I put myself at the mercy of the court. I'm thinking you have the power to say, 'Just go home.' "
Fuente refused to accept his apology. He said he would temporarily send him home, so that his mother wouldn't be stranded in Tampa. But in April, Carillo would have to come back.
Not as a witness, Fuente said.
Carillo will be barred from the new trial on April 9.
Fuente told him to come back April 20, when the trial is over, for his own sentencing.
"Be prepared to do some jail time."
John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.