Man's testimony in court leads to scuffle and arrest

Man's testimony in court leads to scuffle and arrest
Robert Simplins (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - When a man didn't answer an attorney's question while on the stand in court, he faced a bailiff, pat down and charges.

Robert Lee Simpkins appeared in Craighead County District Court on Wednesday where a judge found probable cause to charge him with second-degree battery, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Simpkins was on the stand last week when an attorney asked him if he was armed. He refused to answer and asked, "what difference it would make."

That's when the judge, according to the court document, called for a recess and ordered the bailiff, Deputy Jeffery Byrd, to conduct a pat-down search of Simpkins.

The bailiff said Simpkins refused to put his hands on a wall. The bailiff tried to handcuff the man and that's when Simpkins reached into his pocket. The bailiff observed a silver item come out of the pocket.

"Thinking it was a weapon Byrd struck Simpkins in the face with his first," the affidavit said.

Simpkins fought back, according to the affidavit, and hit Byrd in the face. A sheriff's deputy help intervene and subdue Simpkins.

It's unclear what exactly that silver object was.

During his Wednesday court appearance, a judge released him from custody on an "own recognizance" bond. The judge ordered him to appear in court on June 29.

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