VOICE OVER: Tom Aglio
WRITTEN BY: Jordy McKen
These killer reactions will send a shiver down your spine. For this list, we'll be looking at the most over-the-top and shocking reactions by murderers upon receiving their fate in court. Our countdown of killers reacting to court decisions on camera includes Paul Senecal, Charles Manson, Slobodan Praljak, and more!
Killers Reacting to Sentences Caught on Camera
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re examining 10 Killers Reacting to Sentences Caught on Camera.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most over-the-top and shocking reactions by murderers upon receiving their fate in court. We’re including the reading of charges, verdicts, and sentencing, as long as it was a crazy response that was caught on camera.
Which backlash was the most extreme? Let us know below!
In February 2023, Paul Senecal was brought into court to await the jury verdict against him. He was accused of fatally stabbing Melanie Chianese in May 2022 in Wappinger, New York. She was the daughter of Senecal’s ex-girlfriend. After the judge warned the defendant against any outburst, he immediately ignored the order. Senecal began yelling at his ex that he still loved her. It took a battalion of officers to retrain him before he was ordered out of the courtroom. After that disturbance, Senecal was found guilty by the jury of several charges. He was later sentenced to life in prison without parole for the slaying of Chianese.
Seth Welch & Tatiana Fusari
In August 2018, a heinous crime was brought to everyone’s attention. Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari were accused of neglecting their daughter, who later passed away from malnutrition and dehydration. The two used religion as a defense against their grim actions. When the judge told Welch and Fusari what the charges were and that they were facing life in prison, their reactions went viral. Welch’s jaw dramatically dropped while Fusari sobbed. In June 2020, Welch was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. In November 2021, Fusari was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse. She received a life sentence without parole and between 15 to 30 years for the respective crimes.
In October 2014, Luis Bracamontes went on a spree in Sacramento County, California. On top of carjacking, he also fatally shot sheriff's deputy Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis and injured others. Throughout his court appearances, Bracamontes gained infamy with his erratic behavior. When he was found guilty by the jury, he smiled. Then, Bracamontes stated he would take out more officers. In April 2018, during the sentencing, the victim impact statements were read out. Bracamontes interrupted them with a barrage of swearing. He was given capital punishment for his crimes. His wife, Janelle Monroy, was found guilty of helping Bracamontes and received 50 years in jail.
In May 2017, Jeremy Christian was going on a racist rant on a train in Portland, Oregon, against teenagers. Then, Ricky John Best, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, and Micah Fletcher tried to step in and stand up to him. For that, Christian fatally stabbed Best and Namkai-Meche and injured Fletcher. During his arraignment in 2017, Christian decided to bellow various catchphrases like, “Get out if you don't like free speech.” In June 2020, he lost it at his sentencing. As a woman who was attacked by Christian the day before his spree was reading a statement, the white supremacist screamed violent threats at her, resulting in his removal from court. Christian was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In February 2010, Seandell Jackson was found guilty of the attempted robbery and murder of University of Wisconsin student Nathan Potter. As the jury read the verdict, Jackson turned to Potter’s family and mouthed insults at them. As he was escorted from the court, he smirked at the grieving family again. Then, because doing it once is apparently not enough, during Jackson’s sentencing in April 2010, he glanced at the family again. But this time, officers immediately pounced on him. Jackson fought back briefly. He was soon pepper-sprayed and restrained by three officers before being dragged from the room. Jackson received life in prison with no parole.
In April 2015, Salahuddin Jitmoud was doing his final delivery of the night for Pizza Hut in Lexington, Kentucky. Instead of finishing up and going home, he was robbed and fatally stabbed. While a group of three people was originally arrested for the crime, only Trey Relford was indicted. In November 2017, just before sentencing could happen, the victim’s father, Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud, made a statement that surprised everyone. Using the teachings he’d learned from Islam, he forgave Relford for his part in his son’s demise. Afterward, Jitmoud approached Relford and hugged him. The convict also showed remorse and apologized for his actions. Relford was sentenced to 31 years in prison.
In December 2009, Andrew Wirth was defending himself in court after being accused of fatally shooting off-duty police officer Jennifer Luick and her partner Gregg Peters. After an altercation at a bar in Jefferson, Wisconsin, Peters confronted Wirth, who responded by firing at him. One of the bullets inadvertently hit Luick. After being formally charged with the crime, Wirth lost it in court. He exploded in anger as he lunged towards the galley. Five officers had to retrain him. But they needed to Taser Wirth twice to gain control. In December 2010, Wirth was found guilty of two counts of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon and received a combined sentence of 10 years.
The Croat–Bosniak War, which lasted from 1992 to 1994, developed many instances of military leaders being convicted of war crimes. In 2004, former general of the Croatian Army, Slobodan Praljak, handed himself into the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. By 2013, he was sentenced to 20 years for his part in the atrocities. Immediately, Praljak appealed. In November 2017, while at the UN tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, the judges upheld his previous conviction. Praljak yelled that he wasn’t a war criminal and rejected their decision. He then pulled out a small vial and drank it. Praljak then admitted it was poison, which he somehow smuggled in. A few hours later, he passed away in the hospital.
Erika Mae Butts & Shanita Latrice Cunningham
In 2009, Serenity Richardson visited her godmother, Erika Mae Butts, and her partner, Shanita Latrice Cunningham, in Summerville, South Carolina. In the space of two weeks, young Serenity passed away from the cruelty the two inflicted upon her. After both pled guilty to the terrible crime, in November 2011, they had their sentencing. When the judge told them they would both spend life in prison, Butts and Cunningham were seemingly overwhelmed with the punishment as both collapsed onto the floor. Butts was hyperventilating, while Cunningham seemed to faint and shut down. They were then placed onto chairs with wheels and carefully pulled out of the courtroom to get medical help.
The trial of Charles Manson and his cult “family” was one of the biggest criminal events in the US. Facing the crime of killing seven people, including the actor Sharon Tate, Manson was regularly unhinged in his behavior in Los Angeles, California. In October 1970, after the testimony from a detective sergeant, Manson began interrupting proceedings and threatened the judge. When he felt the judge wasn’t taking his ranting seriously, Manson grabbed a sharpened pencil and lunged toward him. However, several officers blocked his way and restrained Manson. As he was dragged from the courtroom, the cult leader proceeded to yell violent threats at the judge. Manson originally received capital punishment before it was changed to life imprisonment.