Cuyahoga County judge orders man’s mouth taped shut during sentencing

CLEVELAND-- It was an unusual sight in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

Franklyn Williams, 32, is accused of three armed robberies in Richmond Heights and Euclid.

During his sentencing hearing, Williams would not stop talking, despite more than a dozen warnings from Judge John Russo over the course of about 30 minutes. Williams even interrupted his own attorneys.

Russo handled the situation by ordering deputies to tape the defendant's mouth shut.

Six deputies stood around Williams as one applied the red tape, but he continued to speak. The judge instructed deputies to put another piece of tape over his mouth in order for proceedings to continue.

Eventually, Judge Russo sentenced Williams to 24 years in prison.

In December, Williams was convicted on counts of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability, according to court documents.

His trial began late last year, but hit a snag when he cut his ankle bracelet.

Williams fled to Nebraska, where he claimed he was hit over the head and lost his memory. In court on Tuesday, prosecutors played Williams' phone calls with family to prove he remembered. They also found information on his phone that indicated he researched how to beat criminal charges.

Williams repeatedly told the judge he is not insane.

This is his second trial in the case. The first time, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison. Williams was granted an appeal after a court found he was misinformed about when he would be eligible for release.