Auburn Shooting Suspect Denied Bail, Could Face Death Penalty
(OPELIKA, Ala.) — The man accused of a triple murder near Auburn University in Alabama made his first court appearance today, where he was denied bail and could face the death penalty if convicted on capital murder charges.
Desmonte Leonard, 22, arrived in the Lee County Justice Center courtroom in Opelika, Ala., shackled at his waist and ankles, wearing a T-shirt and low-slung jeans.
Leonard received court-appointed attorneys after saying that he could not afford to pay for his legal defense.
Alabama District Judge Russell Bush charged Leonard with three counts of capital murder and two counts of second-degree assault.
Leonard surrendered to federal agents in the lobby of a U.S. courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. Tuesday, following a manhunt by local, national and federal authorities.
He allegedly opened fire at a party near Auburn University Saturday night, killing three people and wounding three others. It is unclear at the time why he was not charged with three counts of second-degree assault.
Two former Auburn football players, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, and another man identified as Demario Pitts, died in the shooting.
Auburn football players Eric Mack, Xavier Moss and John Robertson were wounded. Robertson was undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head and “fighting for his life,” police said.
All six victims were younger than 21 and police have said that the men were not targeted for being football players, but were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Leonard’s next court date appearance has yet to be scheduled.
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