Rafael Mendoza, 30, was convicted of murdering the mother of his children and stabbing his attorney in the face in open court was sentenced to 50 years to life. Mendoza was already on parole for a domestic violence charge involving Juliana Bravo, 24, when he stabbed her in the eye and repeatedly slashed her throat with a butcher's knife in Tulare, California.
On the last day of his murder trial, Mendoza suddenly stood up in open court and began stabbing his defense lawyer in the face, near his eye, Mendoza had apparently been able to smuggle in a makeshift knife made of razor blades despite being patted down and searched. The public defender, Michael Sheltzer, required some stitches after the attack. The judge declared a mistrial.
Mendoza pled no contest to the murder and the additional charges of mayhem and being an inmate in possession of a weapon. Mendoza was sentenced to 35 years to life for the murder and an additional 15 years to life for the other charges.