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Hamilton County Court officers restrain Antwon Lee after he attacked Eric McCullough (unseen) in Judge Gary Starnes courtroom. McCullough is accused of killing his niece who was Lee's girlfriend. Video still courtesy of Tim McCurry for Channel 3

Video courtesy of WRCB.

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A man accused of killing his niece was attacked in General Sessions Court on Tuesday by a man he allegedly stabbed.

Eric McCullough, 46, is facing a criminal homicide charge for fatally stabbing his niece, Tyecha McCullough, 23, and an aggravated assault charge for stabbing Antwon Lee, 25, in the side on July 29.

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Eric McCullough
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Hamilton County court officers restrain Antwon Lee as he attacks Eric McCullough (obscured) in Judge Gary Starnes courtroom. McCullough is accused of killing his niece. Video still courtesy of Tim McCurry for Channel 3
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Hamilton County Court officers restrain Antwon Lee after he attacked Eric McCullough (unseen). Video still courtesy of Tim McCurry for Channel 3

Lee, who was in custody on unrelated charges, was testifying against McCullough in court Tuesday. In a video shot by reporters in the courtroom, Lee can be seen raising his arms and striking McCullough, just a few feet from the startled judge, Gary Starnes. Police officers in the courtroom quickly swarmed the men and tried to keep order with the people in the crowd.

"Back up, sir," one officer yelled at a man from the audience who was approaching the scene. "Back up, sir. Sir, back up."

One officer stood behind McCullough, who looked wide-eyed over his shoulder at Lee. Other officers pinned Lee to the floor.

McCullough appeared to have no major injuries and was taken away by officers. A few minutes later, officers escorted Lee out of the courtroom, as well.

"We've got some folks out in the hallway here that are out of control, too," another man in the courtroom said. "So watch them."

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said it would not release any more details Tuesday. The incident is under investigation.

Lee has been in custody on a charge of violating the sex offender registry.

On July 29, police were called to a residence on Cypress Street where they found Tyecha McCullough and Lee wounded, according to an affidavit. Tyecha McCullough was pronounced dead at a hospital and Lee was treated for a stab wound to his side.

Lee and McCullough gave conflicting reports to authorities of what happened that night.

According to the affidavit, Lee told police he and Tyecha McCullough were walking through the housing complex when Eric McCullough jumped from a porch and starting attacking Tyecha McCullough. Lee tried to help her, and that's when he got stabbed in the side.

But Eric McCullough said he saw Tyecha McCullough walking toward him. He said he flipped open his knife in his pocket and stood up. He said she punched him near the right eyebrow, so he pulled out his knife and stabbed her. Eric McCullough also told police Lee had been punching him in the head, and that's why he stabbed him.

The affidavit does not say why the three people were fighting, but did say, "Mr. McCullough stated he has been arguing with [his] niece for about one month after he moved out of her apartment."

McCullough's next court date is scheduled for Sept. 1. He's being held on $200,000 bond and Lee is being held on $300,000 bond for his charges.

Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at ehoop fer@timesfreepress.com or on Twitter at @Evan Hoopfer or 423-757-6731.

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