Man’s prosthetic eye falls out during trial, judge declares mistrial

Mike Krumboltz
The Sideshow

Getty file photo (Dan Kitwood/Getty)
Getty file photo (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

During an assault trial in Philadelphia, a man's prosthetic eye fell from its socket, resulting in gasps from the jury, and a mistrial.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that John Huttick was on the witness stand, testifying about losing his left eye in a brutal fight in 2011. He began to cry, and the force of the tears reportedly caused the prosthetic, also known as a glass eye, to fall out. (Huttick, luckily, caught the eye.) Several jury members rose as if they needed to leave. A short time later, the judge declared a mistrial.

CNN reports that Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson said, "I've been a prosecutor for 26 years and I've never seen anything like that happen. It was unusual; it was shocking."

Defense attorney Eileen J. Hurley said, "He was crying, and when it came out, he caught [it] in his hand and just held it there. It was a shocking event to witness."

Judge Robert P. Coleman felt the incident would have likely created additional sympathy for Huttick among the jury members.

As for the reason for the trial, Huttick was working as a bar bouncer in 2011 when he was told about a fight in a nearby parking lot. He went to intervene but was allegedly struck by a man named Matthew Brunelli. Brunelli has claimed self-defense and said he only used his fist against the much larger Huttick. Gilson claims Brunelli stabbed his client with a key, which resulted in the lost eye.

"The issue is settled; he admitted he punched the victim and caused the injuries, but claims there was no weapon," said Gilson. "That's just unbelievable. The man's eye had a puncture wound. That's not a punch."

The case is scheduled to be retried next month, according to CNN.