‘I felt so humiliated:’ Man speaks out from jail after judge ordered his mouth taped shut during sentencing

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CLEVELAND --  An inmate who made national headlines when video from FOX6's sister station WJW showed him getting his mouth taped shut in court spoke with WJW's I-Team -- and had plenty to say from behind bars.

"So when they put the tape on my mouth I just felt, I felt so humiliated," Franklyn Williams told WJW. "I just felt like, 'wow -- it's abuse of discretion in the courtroom.'"

The video has sparked reaction nationwide.

Williams had been convicted for armed robberies and more -- even though he disappeared at trial. At sentencing Tuesday, July 31, Judge John Russo ordered deputies to tape his mouth shut after the judge grew frustrated because Williams wouldn’t shut up.

Williams called WJW's I-Team from jail, and he said he still hears in his head the sound of the tape ripping. He has just begun serving a 24-year sentence for armed robberies and more.

So why didn't he just shut up?

"'Cause the judge would not allow me to say the things that I was trying to say on record. He would always stop me before I was able to explain anything on my behalf," said Williams.

Williams said he wanted to bring up injustices he believes he’s suffered in jail as the cases have moved forward.

During the jailhouse phone call, the I-Team listened, but also challenged Williams on other points.

The court says he disappeared during his trial. He says he doesn't even remember a trial, but does he really expect people to believe that?

"Yes, sir. I was hit in the head, and I didn't receive no medical treatment. I lost my mind. I lost my memory. I don't even remember me going to a trial. That's what I was trying to tell them," said Williams.

The I-Team reported in December, Williams was convicted even though he went on the run in the middle of his trial.

Judge John Russo said he was justified in ordering the use of the tape because Williams showed disrespect for the system and parties involved.

Many WJW viewers have responded with support for the judge. As for Williams, he said he never expected what happened in court.

"And I was so concerned about if my children seen this, and my family seen this. I feel that my constitutional right of freedom of speech has been violated," said Williams.

Williams plans to appeal based, at least in part, on what happened in court. He also believes his lawyers should have done more to speak up for him.

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