Man who provoked judge into obscene exchange found competent for murder trial

Man who provoked judge into obscene exchange found competent for murder trial

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Floyd County Sheriff's Office
Denver Fenton Allen 
  • Story Highlights
  • An inmate accused of murder in a 2015 homicide made national news when he provoked a judge.
  • A judge and Denver Fenton Allen exchanged expletives over an 11-minute exchange in 2016.
  • Allen was found fit to stand trial Tuesday.

After a temporary declaration in April of being unfit for trial, a Floyd County jail inmate accused of murder is heading to trial, the Rome News-Tribune reported.

Denver Fenton Allen was found fit and competent by a jury that deliberated more than an hour Tuesday, the newspaper reported. Allen is accused of beating fellow inmate Stephen Rudolph Nalley to death at the Floyd County Jail in August 2015. 

In a June 2016 hearing, Allen provoked Superior Court Judge Bryant Durham into a heated and expletive-filled exchange in open court that drew national attention.

The 11-minute incident became the subject of a comedy sketch on an episode of Adult Swim's animated series "Rick and Morty."

At one point, after Durham made a "you look like a queer" remark, the judge challenged the defendant to masturbate in front of him in the courtroom, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

After Durham found Allen in contempt, Allen responded, “I don’t care.” 

Durham then sentenced Allen to 20 days for contempt and said if he said anything else, he’d add another 20 days for everything else. 

Judge Bryant Durham Jr., left, and defendant Denver Fenton Allen with a fragment of the transcript of their conversation.  (Durham photo courtesy of Rome News-Tribune/

“(Expletive) you,” Allen said. 

“Forty days,” Durham ordered. 

“(Expletive) you again,” Allen said. 

“Sixty,” Durham said. 

“Go (expletive) yourself,” Allen said. 

“A year,” Durham said. 

“Your mama,” Allen said. 

“Ten years,” Durham ordered. 

“(Expletive) my (expletive),” Allen replied. 

“You know something, this is going to be an interesting trial,” the judge said. 

The state judicial watchdog agency ultimately took action against Durham, although the resolution received criticism from members of Georgia’s legal community.

Allen was evaluated in a series of competency hearings over the past year and a half, the News-Tribune reported. Doctors found that Allen had the ability to understand and assist in his defense and his anti-social behavior and unwillingness to help attorney Dan Morgan were completely separate issues from his competency.

Despite having been previously warned by Judge Billy Sparks to stay quiet during the hearing Tuesday, Allen continued his history of outbursts when the jury returned its decision.

Allen called the jury members “trash” and claimed that one of them was a pedophile.

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