HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - All five men charged in the murder of Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen appeared in court Friday morning, where more details were learned about the hours after the cop was killed.
Three of the suspects in the capital murder case provided clothes to Darian Atkinson after the crime, according to investigators.
A fourth suspect, Darian’s brother 21-year-old Davian Atkinson, is also charged with accessory after the fact. Authorities say he gave his younger brother a ride and allowed him to make phone calls while he was on the run.
Darian Atkinson is accused of shooting McKeithen in the parking lot of Biloxi Police Department on May 5. He walked into the courtroom still wearing a “suicide vest” like the one he was wearing on Wednesday. It was the first time he appeared before the media that he wasn’t smiling.
When Harrison County Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner asked Darian Atkinson if he wanted an attorney appointed to his case, the 19-year-old said he was still trying to hire his own legal counsel. Atkinson told the judge he didn’t want a court-appointed one because they work for the county.
The judge appointed attorney Lisa Collums to Atkinson’s case to begin working on his defense, saying Atkinson could always replace her with his own counsel when he was ready.
Atkinson also asked Judge Ladner to be taken off of “suicide watch.” However, Sheriff Troy Peterson said Atkinson is not on “suicide watch” and is instead in an isolated area where he could be closely monitored.
Atkinson is not expected to be back in court again until sometime in June, when his preliminary hearing will be held.
Darian Atkinson’s 21-year-old brother Davian also was brought back before Judge Ladner to discuss his legal counsel. Davian Atkinson is one of four suspects charged with accessory after the fact. The judge appointed Phillip Whitman as Atkinson’s attorney, again saying that he could replace him with his own counsel if he chooses.
At the time of his arrest in this case, Brice was already out on bail for a felony charge of statutory rape that happened a few months ago. Because of the accessory charge, his bond on the statutory rape charge was revoked. Brice, 20, told Judge Ladner that, after speaking to his grandmother, he had decided to hire his own attorney.
Sullivan, 18, also had a bond revoked for two charges of armed robbery that he was arrested for when he was 16. He listed David Sullivan as his attorney but told Judge Ladner that he has not been able to get a hold of the lawyer since being arrested late Thursday.
Kovach also appeared in court and declared Christopher Holt as his attorney. He is set to appear in court for a misdemeanor possession charge on June 5. Because that is a lesser charge than the accessory charge, he did not have a bond revocation.
The Atkinson brothers had their first court appearance on Wednesday.