What is a spit hood, and why was Taylor Schabusiness wearing it?

Posted at 11:28 AM, September 27, 2023


GREEN BAY, Wis. (Court TV) — The woman convicted of murdering her lover while high on meth, dismembering him and sexually assaulting his body sparked chatter and raised eyebrows when she arrived in court for her sentencing on Tuesday.

Taylor Schabusiness was convicted of murdering Shad Thyrion and sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A woman sits in court wearing a spit hood

Taylor Schabusiness appeared to wear a spit hood at her sentencing on Sept. 26, 2023. (Scripps News Green Bay)

Tuesday’s hearing was delayed by approximately 30 minutes and the defendant was late arriving to the courtroom. While no reason was given for the delay, Schabusiness entered the courtroom shackled and wearing what appeared to be a spit hood over her head.

As Court TV’s Julie Grant explained, the hoods are typically used to protect people from prisoners who may spit or bite those around them.

Spit hoods are not only used in court and have a checkered past in law enforcement, as in the case of Daniel Prude, who died in New York after officers covered his head with a hood. The hood, typically made of mesh, is used to protect police and correction officers from disease, should they come into contact with spit, according to the New York Times.

“People quite frankly underestimate the level of danger that officers can face from individuals that are using their mouths and their teeth,” Maria Haberfeld, a professor of police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told the Times.

Court TV asked the Court why Schabusiness was placed in a spit hood, but received no answer. The Brown County Jail told Scripps News Green Bay that the decision was made to put Schabusiness in a hood due to recent behavior issues for the safety of everyone around her.

Previously, Schabusiness had attacked her attorney during a court hearing, tackling him before she was removed from the room. She was not shackled and had no hood over her face during her trial.