Accused cop killer grins as deputy DA recounts deadly day
Luis Bracamontes made it 12 minutes through his trial Wednesday before exploding into another tirade of profanity and threats, leading Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White to order him removed from the courtroom.
Bracamontes, accused of killing two Sacramento-area deputies in 2014, erupted as his brother began testifying in the second day of his trial.
With Bracamontes shouting in Spanish and English, the judge immediately barked, “Be quiet.”
“F--- you,” Bracamontes replied, then began shouting threats at the two juries in the case and at family members of the slain deputies.
“I’m going to kill one of you motherf-------,” Bracamontes said as jurors were escorted out on White’s orders.
The judge warned Bracamontes that he would be removed if he refused to halt his outbursts, and his public defenders renewed their request to allow him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
Public defender Norm Dawson argued that Bracamontes will continue to act out because he does not believe the trial matters and that if he is sentenced to die he is impervious to execution.
“He simply does that because he believes he can’t be killed,” Dawson said.
White rejected the effort to change his plea or declare a mistrial, and Bracamontes started in again.
“F--- all the stupid cops and f--- the families, too,” he said, looking directly at the row of seats where the families of Deputies Danny Oliver and Michael Davis Jr. were seated.
“More f------ cops are going to be killed – soon,” he shouted as deputies escorted him out of the court upon White’s order.
Before having Bracamontes removed, the judge explained to him that he will be asked twice a day by deputies if he wants to come to court and if he will behave.
Otherwise, the judge said, “the trial will continue without you.”
Dawson asked the judge to allow Bracamontes to observe the trial by remote video or audio, and the judge replied, “I have already ordered that, it’s being set up right now.”
Bracamontes has a long history of acting out during court hearings, and did so several times Tuesday on the first day of trial.
The case is being held with two juries, one for the death penalty case involving Bracamontes, the other for his wife, Janelle Monroy, who faces up to life in prison.
After the juries returned to the courtroom, the judge reminded them that they were not to consider Bracamontes’ outbursts when they finally deliberate the case.
Bracamontes’ eruption came 12 minutes into testimony by his brother, Hector Monroy Bracamontes, who was beginning to describe an incident before the October 2014 rampage when the defendant pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him.
Hector Bracamontes wept as his brother began shouting at him in Spanish, and later told the judge that the defendant told him “to not get upset, to send them to hell.”
By the time court broke for a morning recess at 10:30, White said deputies had told him that Bracamontes had agreed to behave, and the judge said he would allow him to return.
Bracamontes, who appears in court with shackles on his legs and a waist chain restraining his arms, was escorted back in and maintained his composure for the rest of the day as prosecutor Rod Norgaard summoned witnesses to retrace the couple’s journey from their Utah home to Sacramento.
That process included playing a videotape of Bracamontes and his wife checking into the Motel 6 the night of Oct. 23, 2014, the day before Oliver was gunned down in the motel parking lot.
That video showed Monroy playfully caressing Bracamontes in the lobby, then Monroy leaving the lobby arm in arm with him, part of the prosecution effort to show that she went willingly with Bracamontes rather than as a woman living in fear of her husband.
The final witness Wednesday was Scott Clark, a Cal Expo worker who was driving by the motel parking lot the morning of the rampage and testified that he heard several gunshots, then saw a deputy running through the parking lot for cover as a man fired a pistol at him.
“I was scared for my life at that point,” Clark testified as he recounted the gunman turning toward him and making eye contact.
The deputy running for cover was Oliver’s partner, Scott Brown, who is expected to testify Thursday about Oliver’s slaying. In one of his outbursts Tuesday, Bracamontes referred to Brown as a “coward.”