Debra Triplett (supplied)
A woman who allegedly yelled "Free R. Kelly!" at the jury this morning is being held in custody by Judge Gaughan.
Debra Tripplett, 48, of the 1300 block of N. Lake St., Aurora, is charged with being in indirect contempt of court. Gaughan set her bail at $50,000.
She's accused of shouting the slogan twice at the jury as it emerged from an elevator on the fifth floor of the criminal courts building.
The jury was being led to the courtroom when Triplett allegedly made her outburst.
Wearing an oversized white t-shirt and jeans, she was arrested by a sheriff's deputy and brought before the judge this morning, before the trial resumed.
During a brief hearing, Cook County Sheriff's Sgt. London Thomas testified Triplett was in a group of 15-20 bystanders waiting outside the elevators on the fifth floor when the jury emerged.
"I observed a woman shout 'Free R. Kelly!'" Thomas said. "As I approached her her voice dropped off and she said 'Free R. Kelly!' again."
Assistant State's Attorney John Dillon told Gaughan it was clear that Triplett was trying to influence the jury.
Gaughan ordered Triplett to return to court June 25, when he will decide her fate.
But after Triplett was lead back to the cells, Gaughan asked the jurors to raise their hands if they had heard her alleged outburst.
Triplett has experience of being locked up. Court files show she has record stretching back to 1991, and that she has been sentenced to prison time on at least three occasions for drug possession.
She was sentenced to two years in 1998, one year in 2001 and three years in 2004.