330-pound suspect punches lawyer despite stun cuffs

Curtis Keller, photo courtesy Shelby County Jail.
Curtis Keller, photo courtesy Shelby County Jail.

(WMC-TV) - 330-pound Curtis Keller briefly appeared in court Tuesday only after an even larger deputy helped forcibly remove him from his jail cell a day after the defiant defendant attacked his own attorney.

This defendant had nothing to lose - he's already been sentenced to more than 200 years in prison for another crime.

"I think it was clear he didn't want me to represent him anymore," said Mark Mesler, Keller's defense attorney who is committed to the case.

Mesler said it happened in a holding cell after Keller told him he did not want to participate in his own trial.

"And then I came back in the room to tell him how jury selection had gone - and he came at me, took a swing at me, hit me in the arm," he said.

It's the first time in his nearly 20-year-career Mesler has had such an encounter with a client.

"It just deteriorated from there," he said.

Curtis Keller is on trial for being the alleged mastermind of a 2008 home invasion and robbery of a jewelry store owner and his family in Germantown.

The crew was caught after a 25-mile police chase.

Keller, a career criminal and constant problem in court, was already sentenced to 240 years in prison for convictions related to a separate home invasion.    

There is an increased security both inside the courtroom and outside - including the use of what are known as "stun cuffs" on Keller.

Stun Cuffs - which pack the punch of a taser and are fitted on the wrist and ankles - were supposedly worn by Keller when he attacked his attorney.

Though they were not activated.

In order to avoid further delays, Judge Chris Craft denied Mesler's request to be removed from the case.

One of Curtis Keller's co-defendants testified against him Tuesday.

He was brought from his cell so the witness could positively identify him.

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