There is a fairly routine process by which a defendant in court can ask for and receive new legal counsel if the original attorney he or she was provided proves incompetent. There is, of course, paperwork to fill out and motions to be raised before the judge. Alternatively, if those methods are too tedious, one can apparently simply stab their lawyer in the neck with a pencil.
The Everett Herald reports on the melee:
County corrections officers piled on Monson and wrestled him to the ground in front of about 30 potential jurors. The courtroom was treated like a crime scene and sheriff's deputies took statements from more than a dozen witnesses. Jurors eventually were sent home.
At a subsequent hearing Cox withdrew as Monson's lawyer, citing a conflict of interest (namely his neck's interest in not being stabbed anymore). Monson was assigned a new lawyer at the same hearing.
Monson himself is on trial for allegedly shooting 30-year-old Brian Jones in the back of the head as he was on his cell phone. The motive is supposedly a dispute over a woman.
Monson supposedly doesn't remember stabbing his lawyer, and Cox says he believes his former client didn't realize what he was doing.
Frankly, we're just surprised anyone uses pencils anymore.