Michigan Uber driver accused of murder interrupts hearing

Reuters News
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Posted: May 20, 2016 10:56 AM

By Cheyna Roth

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Reuters) - A Michigan Uber driver accused of killing six people in a February shooting spree will participate in a hearing on Friday via a video hookup from jail after he was hauled out of court for a verbal outburst while a witness was testifying.

Kalamazoo County District Judge Christopher Haenicke said the hearing would resume at noon EDT (1600 GMT) after Jason Dalton, 45, was removed from the courtroom.

Dalton is charged with shooting eight people and killing six of them within five hours on Feb. 20, in between driving customers for the Uber car service in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The city is located about 150 miles (240 km) north of Detroit.

Dalton was in court on Friday morning for a preliminary hearing where Haenicke was to hear testimony from witnesses and decide whether there is enough evidence to try the defendant on the charges.

Tiana Carruthers, who reportedly was shot three times after putting herself between the shooter and some children she was taking care of, was the first witness to take the stand on Friday morning.

During her testimony, Dalton, who was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, gestured toward her and also made several verbal outbursts.

Carruthers began to cry, and deputies restrained Dalton and dragged him out of the courtroom.

In April a judge ruled that Dalton was mentally competent to stand trial after the Center for Forensic Psychiatry said he understood the charges against him.

(Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)