Man accused of punching Newark auxiliary bishop makes bizarre court appearance

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Anthony Johnson reports on a frightening attack that was caught on camera

A dramatic scene played out Tuesday as the man accused of punching an auxiliary bishop in Newark went before a judge, and the suspect had a message for the court.

The theatrics took place as Charles Miller made his appearance, describing himself as a fellow man of the cloth in an indiscernible, expletive-filled introduction.

Miller's attorney entered a not guilty plea, and he was ordered held without bail for another court hearing later this week.

Miller is accused of punching Reverend Manuel Cruz during a special Mass in honor of Roberto Clemente at Newark's Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart Saturday. He attended the service wearing an outfit popular in the style of the 1970s, and while his wardrobe did attract attention, no one apparently realized he was also a danger until the attack.

Police say Miller got up from his pew, walked silently up to the altar and punched Rev. Cruz in the mouth. He was immediately tackled by police officers and taken into custody.

The motive for the assault is not yet known, and it does not appear that Miller had any other contact with Rev. Cruz. Fortunately, the bishop was able to leave the scene.

Miller's attorney wants the state to turn over all the evidence they have on the case, including the video.

A woman was in the courtroom to support Miller, and she came out of the courtroom and told reporters outside that he was typically a kind man but was off of his medication. He is undergoing a mental evaluation.

The Mass marked the recent anniversary Clemente's death on New Year's Eve in 1972. He was killed in a plane crash while trying to bring supplies to the earthquake-ravaged country of Nicaragua.
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newscatholic churchattackassaultreligionNewark
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