Mt. Pleasant man charged after incident in Westmoreland County courtroom

Sep. 20—A man accused of incidents involving two nurses at the Westmoreland County Prison was charged Monday after a woman was injured when he "thrusted himself" at his attorney in a courtroom, according to court papers.

Joe Paul Biller, 37, of Mt. Pleasant, is facing a charge of simple assault.

Westmoreland County detectives said a woman was sitting at a table in Courtroom 6 at the Greensburg courthouse on Sept. 8 when Biller thrust himself toward his public defender, who then fell onto the woman.

Biller was handcuffed and shackled at the time, according to court papers.

The woman had a shoulder injury and told authorities her glasses were knocked to the floor. Two sheriff's deputies took Biller to the ground, according to court papers. He was in court that day for call of the list in four cases, according to court records.

A summons was issued on the simple assault charge. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 1.

He has been held at the Westmoreland County Prison since February in several unrelated cases, including one in which he is accused of operating a meth lab out of a car in Mt. Pleasant and a second in which he is accused of fighting with police serving a mental health warrant.

More recently, Biller has been charged in connection with incidents involving two nurses in as many weeks at the Hempfield jail. Charges in both of those cases were held for court during preliminary hearings Tuesday.

A nurse was delivering medication Aug. 25 when county detectives said Biller reached out of his cell door and attempted to grab her, according to court papers. The nurse jumped back to get out of Biller's reach and he is accused of head-butting a male guard who arrived to take him to a disciplinary unit.

On Sept. 6, a female nurse and male jail guard were passing out medications when Biller grabbed the nurse's arm and pulled it through the cell door, according to court papers. The guard attempted to get Biller to release the woman and, when he did, she fell to the floor, injuring her side and back, police said.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta by email at or via Twitter .