Man faces attempted murder charge after viral video of judge attack

Deobra Redden, who was seen in a viral video attacking District Judge Mary Kay Holthus, appears again in front of Holthus to complete his sentencing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. Photograph: K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal

A man accused of attacking a Las Vegas judge in a viral video last week is now facing an attempted murder charge, court records show.

Deobra Redden is accused of attacking District Judge Mary Kay Holthus on Wednesday during his sentencing hearing for an attempted battery with substantial bodily harm charge.

Holthus ordered Redden back to court on Monday morning, when she handed down a sentence of 19 to 48 months in prison.

“I want to make it clear that I am not changing or modifying the sentence I was in the process of imposing last week before I was interrupted by the defendant’s actions,” Holthus said.

Prosecutors also filed a criminal complaint on Monday, charging Redden, 30, with attempted murder against an older person, battery on a protected person resulting in substantial bodily harm against an older person, extortion, intimidating a public officer with threat of force, disregarding the safety of a person resulting in substantial bodily harm, battery by a probationer or parolee, unlawful act regarding fluid by a prisoner in confinement, and six counts of battery on a protected person, court records show.

Redden hit the judge on the head and pulled her hair during the attack, when he was restrained by officers, an attorney and the judge’s clerk, according to an arrest report.

Six uniformed officers escorted Redden into court on Monday. He appeared in a blue Clark County Detention Center uniform, shackled in a full face mask acting as a spit guard and orange restraint gloves. A court order filed Friday indicates Redden was ordered to be transported to the hearing “by all means necessary.”

He did not speak during the hearing.

Redden had pleaded guilty in November to the attempted battery charge for threatening to “bust the kneecaps” of another man with a baseball bat, according to court records.

Redden, who has an arrest record in Clark County dating back to 2011, had been released on his own recognizance after pleading guilty, although a bench warrant had been issued after he failed to appear in court.

Defense attorney Caesar Almase had argued for Redden to be granted probation at last week’s hearing. But the judge noted that Redden had a history of probation violations, and had twice completed the District Court’s mental health court program.

Almase declined to comment after Monday’s sentencing. Court records show he is not representing Redden against the charges stemming from the attack on the judge.

Redden spoke calmly in court last week, when he said he was in a “better place,” and wanted to be placed on probation. After the judge indicated she would instead sentence him to prison, he suddenly yelled out and leaped over the defense table and judge’s bench, throwing himself at Holthus.

This is a video screenshot of Judge Mary Kay Holthus being aided after she was attacked by defendant Deobra Redden during a hearing Wednesday, January 3, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Courtroom Video)
This is a video screenshot of defendant Deobra Redden attacking Judge Mary Kay Holthus after a hearing Wednesday, January 3, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Courtroom Video)

A courtroom marshal who attempted to restrain Redden tripped and injured his head on the judge’s bench. He required 25 stitches to his head and suffered a dislocated shoulder.

Redden’s foster mother and sister both spoke to reporters after Monday’s hearing. They confirmed Redden suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and questioned whether sending him back to prison would help him.

“It’s only going to put him in a worse state of mind, because the system has failed him,” said Redden’s sister, LaDonna Daniels.

Daniels said Redden was born with mental illness and that his “chance of life was taken at birth.” She said that Redden has not been able to obtain his medication since he was released from jail in November, and that he “felt threatened” during last week’s hearing.

“I just think his reactions were not premeditated,” she said.

Redden’s foster mother, Karen Denise Springer, said Redden appears calmer, but he didn’t receive his first dose of medication in jail until Saturday.

She said that after Redden was released from jail following November’s guilty plea, he had taken steps to find an apartment and secure an upcoming job working as a laborer with the Teamster’s union.

Springer was in court last week, and said she was shocked to see Redden launch himself at the judge.

“My first thought of mine was please don’t kill him,” Springer said.

Redden is being held on a $54,000 bail in connection with the attack on the judge and is due back in court Tuesday before a different judge.