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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- In the courtroom Thursday, 19-year-old murder suspect Keantay Hunter had to be held back by security guards after lunging at his attorney and spitting on him.
Hunter is accused of killing a man in the Parkland neighborhood in 2012. The Louisville teenager is charged with murder, attempted murder and tampering with physical evidence.
"When I saw that on the news, I was devastated so we had to speak out as a family," said Romeo Cross, Hunter's uncle.
Cross said Hunter acted out because his public defender isn't defending the case as he should.
"He doesn't talk to him. He laughs at him. He doesn't communicate with him," Cross told WDRB.
Hunter has pleaded not guilty to the 2012 murder of Jesse Williams.
"He says he's not guilty of this. We're going to stand by him until they prove different so we just want him to have the best public defense as possible and it's not coming from the public defender's office," he said.
Cross is convinced the lack of defense is due to heavy workloads at the public defender's office.
"I've been in contact with them for months. They've switched public defenders on him. I don't think they're singling him out as an individual but like I said, he is a kid," Cross said.
Chief Public Defender Dan Goyette told WDRB there's no merit or substance to the family's argument.
"That attitude right there is why we're here where we are," said Cross.
Cross said he talks to his nephew every day.
"He understands what he did was wrong. He said last week the public defender did come see him but he came to him with a Sports Illustrated magazine and he was looking through the magazine more than anything. What happened in court the other day, he's frustrated. He didn't know what to do and we've talked to him on the phone. He understands he made a bad decision," Cross told WDRB.
No word if additional charges will be filed against Hunter.
His family plans to request a new public defender next week.