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November 17, 2006
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Ohio courtroom beating caught on tape

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The Associated Press

WARREN, Ohio- A man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend and her three children was punched repeatedly while he stood handcuffed in a courtroom, and two relatives of the victims were charged in the videotaped attack.

A television cameraman covering Jason Howard's hearing Wednesday taped one man reaching over the banister that separates attorneys from the public to beat the defendant, and another man jumping the banister and punching Howard after court officers pulled off the first attacker.

Howard, 24, tried to dodge the punches. He is shown on the video sitting speechless after both attackers were restrained. He was checked out by a jail doctor and was not hurt, Trumbull County Sheriff's Maj. Robert Davis said.

Lewis West, 30, and Sulthan Honzu, 29, both of Warren, were arrested in the Trumbull County courthouse and charged with assault. Honzu is a cousin and West is a brother of Jameila West, 27, who was slain in Columbus in June along with her 10-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 3 and 5.

Jameila West's mother, Victoria, told The Vindicator of Youngstown the melee began after she gave Howard a ''pat'' on the back of his head; a deputy then grabbed her and put her on the floor.

Howard, the father of the youngest child slain, said Wednesday he didn't kill Jameila West and her children. He was in court in Trumbull County on different charges -- killing a man and shooting two others in Warren days before the bodies were discovered in Columbus, about 140 miles southwest.

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