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Lambert forcibly removed after becoming violent at murder trial

Accused murderer Joshua Lambert became violent during his trial Tuesday and was subdued by law enforcement officers. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Accused murderer Joshua Lambert became violent during his trial Tuesday and was subdued by law enforcement officers.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

An accused double murderer became violent during his trial and was subdued by five law enforcement officers Tuesday afternoon.

Joshua Lambert has become increasing agitated during the ongoing trial in Island County Superior Court, which began two weeks ago. He was acting as his own attorney — and asserts an insanity defense — but the judge removed him of that duty after his continued outbursts and inappropriate behavior in court.

Lambert became upset Tuesday afternoon while the prosecution's expert witness, psychologist Brian Judd, testified that he didn't believe that Lambert is schizophrenic. He testified that Lambert didn't exhibit any of the typical characteristics, such as a "flat affect" and "a poverty of words."

Lambert interrupted the testimony, claiming that Judd was misstating the facts.

Judge Vickie Churchill halted the testimony and excused the jury. Lambert continued to challenge Judd, saying he was going to report him to the licensing authority.

Lambert suddenly became violent. He was immediately wrestled to the ground by two corrections deputies, Deputy Ed Wallce and the bailiff, Dave Penrod. Even Sheriff Mark Brown, who happened to be in the audience, jumped into the fray.

Deputies handcuffed Lambert and took him out of the courtroom.

Churchill explained what had occurred for the record, explaining that Lambert created "violence in the courtroom."

"Mr. Lambert will not be allowed back in the courtroom again," she said.

Lambert was taken to the jail, where he watched the rest of the day's proceedings over a video feed. He was replaced in the courtroom with a large-screen TV which broadcast his image for the jury to see.

Churchill ordered extraordinary security procedures for the trial after finding that Lambert is unpredictable and a safety risk. He had many outbursts during hearings over the last 20 months since the murders, even calling her names on several occasions.

Churchill ruled he could not longer act as his own attorney last week after he continued to ask a witness inappropriate questions and argued with the judge's rulings in front of the jury.

Monday, Lambert was removed and replaced with the TV set after he continually interrupted testimony. He was allowed back after he promised to act appropriately.

Lambert, formerly homeless in Oak Harbor, had been acting as his own attorney in the months following the Oct. 3, 2011 murders. He's accused of stabbing to death his paternal grandfather, George Lambert, tying up his great aunt and then stabbing to death his maternal grandfather, August Eugene "Sonny" Eisner. His grandfathers were both 80 years old and lived in separate residences on North Whidbey.

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