BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — About 20 deputies rushed outside the courthouse and separated two families who became involved in a confrontation after a sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon, one side claiming a woman was bitten by a therapy dog.
The fracas happened after Seth Mills, represented by attorney Tony Lidgett, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison for fatally shooting James Quair last year outside a house party on Cherry Street. Mills pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and being a felon in possession of a gun.
Quair’s family was furious with the plea agreement. His mother and several sisters asked Judge Eric Bradshaw to toss the deal and let the case go to trial.
“I know my son wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” said Maria Melendez, Quair’s mother.
Multiple criminal cases are listed against both men on the Superior Court website.
Bradshaw followed the agreement and imposed sentence, after which deputies led Mills family out of the courtroom, keeping the Quairs inside. The Quairs were allowed to leave about a minute later.
Both sides, however, met near the sidewalk to the east of the courthouse, where the clash occurred.
Sulina Quair, one of Quair’s sisters, said a therapy dog used by a member of the Mills family bit one of their group, then shoving occurred. Both sides shouted at each other as deputies kept them separated.
At least one person called 911. Police arrived and took statements.
In the Sept. 17 shooting, surveillance footage showed Mills fire gunshots from his pickup toward a motorcycle Quair rushed near the house where the party was being held, according to court documents. Quair got back on the motorcycle and soon after a muzzle flash appeared to come from his raised hand, the documents said.
Multiple gunshots are heard, the pickup accelerates and hits the motorcycle, according to the documents. Both vehicles crash into a telephone pole, after which the truck reverses and drives away.
Quair started running but collapsed in the street, according to the documents. Police said he had at least two gunshot wounds.
Michelle Quair, Quair’s eldest sister, said her brother meant everything to her and her children. She said they ask him about all the time.
“He was the go-to uncle because he was the fun uncle, the uncle everyone wanted to be around constantly,” she said.
Article By KGET, https://www.kget.com/news/crime-watch/deputies-separate-families-dog-after-tense-sentencing-hearing/