Here’s some of the things they saw:

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 10, 2003

Travis Sental Tucker, a man charged with using a firearm in a felony will stand trial, no matter how much he protests against his attorney. That was the ruling of Judge Rodham T. Delk in Suffolk Circuit Court on Monday as he told Tucker that come May 15, he would stand trial whether or not he cooperated with his attorney.

Johnnie E. Mizelle, a Suffolk attorney, had been appointed to serve as public defender for Tucker who has a string of felony charges against him. Those charges include several counts of robbery of several individuals, including juveniles, use of a firearm in the commission of those felonies, and abduction.

Tucker was brought into the courtroom in shackles and handcuffs and his belligerence toward officers of the court, the judge and the prosecutors was obvious. Surprisingly, he was even more hostile toward Mizelle, with whom he’d never had a meeting.


Email newsletter signup

Because of Tucker’s refusal to work with him, Mizelle made a motion to withdraw as Tucker’s attorney. Tucker previously lost his first court appointed attorney, Joanne Spencer, when he refused to cooperate with her in his defense, the judge allowing for her withdrawal.

Judge Delk refused to grant Mizelle’s motion, but he did offer some advice for Tucker, a Portsmouth resident prior to his being jailed. He told Tucker that since he’s facing life in prison without parole, it would be in his best interest to work with Mizelle on a defense.

In a second trial, an 18-year old Suffolk man pled guilty to entering Florence Bowser Elementary School last October, and removing a digital camera and metal detector. For his trouble the young man was in front of the judge Monday, and ordered to return to court for a pre-sentencing report on May 8. Until then, he remains free on bond, staying with his family until his court date.

Susan Walton, an assistant Commonwealth’s attorney, brought the case before Judge Delk, describing events of the incident.

Because Walton, on behalf of the Commonwealth, was willing to allow the defendant, Johnny L. Gower III, to plea down the charges of burglary and larceny to petit larceny and entering the property of another with intent to interfere with that entity’s rights, he could get a reduced sentence. He has no prior police record.

In another turn of events in the Jamaine D. Rogers prosecution, he was not in court Monday, however, Public Defender Tim Miller made a motion to withdraw as the man’s attorney of record. Over the objections of Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Marie Walls, the judge allowed Miller to withdraw.

Rogers is the 22-year old jobless father of Lakayla J. Rogers, his 8-month-old daughter. He is charged with beating the infant to death.

Rogers was charged with the baby’s death after she was found dead Nov. 9, 2002. Rogers told police he’d been alone with the baby while her mother, Angela Knight, was out.

Marie Walls, the assistant Commonwealth’s attorney who will prosecute Rogers, presented enough evidence against him in February for the judge to bind him over for trial.

He was also sentenced at that time to 12 months in jail for failure to seek medical attention for the infant, who, according to the medical examiner, sustained blunt force trauma injuries that caused internal bleeding resulting in death. Rogers will stand trial June 2.

Judge Delk will appoint another defense attorney to Rogers, and he will stand trial June 2.

Miller did not comment on the reasons for his withdrawal as defense attorney.