Capital murder defendant dragged into court after refusing to appear

Published: Aug. 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2014 at 10:32 PM CDT
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James Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife and kidnapping their son. (Source: KLTV staff)
James Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife and kidnapping their son. (Source: KLTV staff)

(KLTV) - Courtroom bailiffs had to drag capital murder suspect James Calvert into the courtroom when he refused to attend a hearing on Thursday. Calvert was brought in slumped in a wheelchair.

Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife and kidnapping their son in 2012. Calvert was covering his head with his arms and his shirt was pulled up over him Thursday. Several bailiffs had to lift Calvert into a seated position. He sat with his head hung and eyes closed for several minutes while waiting for the judge to come in the courtroom.

On October 31, 2012, Tyler police were called to a south Tyler home, just across the street from Pollard Park. Authorities say 30-year-old Jelena Sriraman was shot and killed when Calvert forced his way into that home and took their four-year-old son. An Amber Alert was issued and Louisiana police were able to stop Calvert and bring the child home.

Calvert, who is defending himself, filed several motions before the hearing.  The state introduced an exhibit (search and seizure warrant) to which Calvert objected to. The judge overruled that objection.

The state said that warrant involves Calvert's alleged theft and fraudulently holding himself out to be an attorney. The state alleged Calvert has been asking for extra time to review the discovery in his case (now up to six hours per day).

An investigation by the district attorney's and sheriff's offices has revealed Calvert has been fraudulently doing legal work for other inmates. He's been supplied by the county with paper and printing cartridges.

"The defendant has taken advantage of this court's orders and good nature that were set in place to help him. He has manipulated and violated his way into becoming a jailhouse lawyer for other inmates and has misused the funds of the Smith County taxpayers," said first assistant DA April Sikes.

The state said for the first time in history, Smith County has provided a defendant with office supplies and a computer in an abundance of caution for a pro se capital murder defendant, but Calvert is abusing that privilege.

Calvert said all the allegations are false and the DA is using them as a way to see what he has prepared for trial."This is a ridiculous asinine facade on the district [attorney]'s part," Calvert exclaimed. He also requested that all items seized under the search warrant be returned. The judge ruled that the items would remain in the sheriff's custody until the issue is addressed again at a hearing next Friday.

"I'm being penalized for being a capital murder defendant that's pro se and they just can't deal with it," he said.

Calvert said he was incapable of furthering his defense until the items were returned to him.

He's being held in the Smith County Jail on a $25 million bond.

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