East Texas Justice


An attorney in a case of a Shelby County murder suspect has asked to withdraw from the case after a confrontation with the Shelby County district attorney Friday at the courthouse.

Robert Goodwin filed the motion to withdraw counsel on Monday. He is the attorney for Rebecca Fountain, who is accused of killing Mark Allen Ray after stabbing him in the chest in March 2012.

According to the motion, Goodwin showed up at the courthouse on Friday morning to bring attention to Judge Brick Dickerson about District Attorney Kenneth Florence's participation in an article which ran in the Center Light & Champion. He said in the motion that Florence's "slanderous, unauthorized, and wholly unfounded attacks on me by virtue of the comments he made to the local newspaper, amounted to an intentional effort to contaminate the potential jury pool."

Goodwin stated he was seeking a gag order against Florence and during the incident, Florence "stomped away from the bench, without any leave of this Court to do so, muttering that 'I didn't get any notice of this hearing and refuse to participate any further.'"

Goodwin stated while he was standing at the bench, Florence "began screaming at the top of his lungs: 'You're a liar, you're nothing but a liar, you're a f ..... liar!'"

Goodwin said Florence then ran at him in a "clearly hostile, threatening, and intimidating manner" and Goodwin placed his cane on the floor beside the bench to intercept him.

Goodwin stated in the motion that Florence was glaring down at Goodwin and placed both of his hands on Goodwin's shoulders and tried to shove him backwards.

Goodwin said he tried to step forward into Florence and eventually pinned him against the jury box.

Goodwin stated Florence then began to insist Goodwin be arrested and the bailiff tried to separate them.

According to the motion, Dickerson ordered both lawyers into chambers and Florence said he did not want to be attacked in chambers. Goodwin stated he offered Florence his cane for his protection "if that would make him feel any safer in chambers."

"Florence grabbed my cane and commenced to immediately demonstrate the potentially use such a cane as a dangerous and deadly weapon, swinging it violently and recklessly like a baseball bat...He then began trying to twirl the cane like some Teenage Mutant MENSA Turtle, adequately demonstrating that he was equally as effete and ineffective twirling my stick as he was swinging it like a bat," Goodwin stated.

Goodwin stated he then asked to be excused and began packing his briefcase.

"I politely asked Florence if I could now have my cane back," Goodwin stated. "...Florence immediately smarted off he would return my cane when he felt good and ready to do so."

Goodwin stated he then hurled his notebook in the general direction of Florence, who was standing about 15 to 20 feet away.

"It amounted to an admittedly girly throw" and struck DA Investigator Bobby Carlsen "right in the mouth as he was close enough to me not to have any opportunity to duck, block, evade, or otherwise defend himself from such an unexpected paper projectile threat," the motion states.

"There was no question that Bobby had been hit in the mouth by the notebook and certainly appeared annoyed and quite possibly hurt. I apologized to Bobby and attempted to shake his hand. Understandably, he brushed my proffered handshake aside declining my attempted apology. 'Too soon' I was thinking."

Goodwin stated Florence then began yelling and screaming again for Goodwin to be arrested for aggravated assault on a peace officer. A Shelby County deputy handcuffed Goodwin and began taking him into custody but Dickerson asked Carlsen if he intended to file charges against Goodwin and Carlsen said he did not wish to do so, Goodwin stated.

Goodwin states he eventually got his notebook and cane back and left the courthouse.

Though the motion states Goodwin learned Carlsen filed charges against him, Sheriff Willis Blackwell said Tuesday no charges have been filed in his office.

Goodwin stated he does not feel safe in Shelby County and wishes to withdraw from the case, due to any possible legal trouble combined with his heart condition.

She is scheduled for trial on Dec. 8.

Carlsen confirmed he was hit with the notebook, but referred further comment, including whether or not he would file charges, to Florence. Florence has not returned a phone call for comment. Goodwin also cannot be reached for comment.