• Lynda Cohen

Atlantic City murder suspect attacks public defender

Updated: Mar 24

An Atlantic City murder suspect attacked his public defender during a hearing Tuesday. The attack caused a brief stop to proceedings in any of the courtrooms and had sheriff’s officers responding from throughout the courthouse. Robert Fountaine is accused of murder and other charges in the fatal stabbing of his neighbor, Thomas Hill, in February. Witnesses said Fountaine was disruptive before the attack, saying he did not want the attorney, Mary Linehan, to represent him.

The hearing started out discussing where the case stood, including that the prosecutor in the case had requested an offer from the defense to begin plea negotiations.

“I don’t want her representing me,” Fountaine is heard saying in an audio of the brief court appearance obtained by BreakingAC.

Superior Court Judge Patricia Wild warns him to wait until Linehan is finished speaking, but he continues.

“I don’t want her representing me,” he repeats again.

“I don’t care what you want right now, please be quiet,” the judge replies.

But Fountaine continues, saying he wants a different attorney representing him. He then insists he wants that on the record.

“It’s on the record,” the judge replies. “How many times did you say it?”

“I don’t give a f—,” he says.

“That’s it, you’re out of here,” Wild says.

Fountaine then threw a ZipLoc bag full of paperwork, which is met by gasps in the courtroom.

That’s when the man turned and lunged toward the female public defender, witnesses said. Screams of court staff are heard on the recording.

Shackled at his legs and wrists, Fountaine still managed to get to Linehan and push her across the room into the wall by the jury box, which is near the prosecution table.

“We need officers,” someone says.

“Hurry up! Hurry up!” the judge can be heard yelling.

“They couldn’t get him off her,” a woman told BreakingAC.

The scuffling could be heard in the courtroom next door. Jailed defendants in all courtrooms were taken out after the incident. Linehan was evaluated by medical personnel.

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