HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Darian Atkinson’s brothers, Wanya and Davian Atkinson, appeared in the Harrison County courtroom inside the jail Wednesday for their preliminary hearings.
The brothers are charged with accessory after the fact in the murder of Biloxi police officer, Robert McKeithen.
Davian Atkinson, Wanya Atkinson, Dalentez Latavian Brice, Joshua Michael Kovach and Andre Anderson Sullivan Jr. were all charged with accessory after the fact days after the murder, but Kovach and Sullivan waived their hearing and Brice’s hearing was postponed because he didn’t have an attorney. Brice’s hearing will be reset once a public defender is appointed to his case.
In court, Detective Samuel Jewel testified video surveillance in the hours after McKeithen’s murder shows Darian with his brothers Davian and Wanya at their mother’s home on Woodfield Lane in Biloxi.
Jewell said at 2:45 a.m. Wanya asked a friend for clothes, and those clothes were given to Darian so he could change into them. At this time, investigators have not said who that friend was. Investigators also testified that one of the other co-defendants told police a conversation happened between Wanya and Darian where Darian told Wanya where he hid the gun.
In court, Det. Samuel Jewell laid out how the investigation unfolded, including the events leading up to the shooting, a police report taken at Atkinson’s mother’s home before officers knew he was the suspect, and the information that eventually led them to identify and arrest Darian Atkinson.
According to Jewell, cameras inside and outside of Darian Atkinson’s mother’s house show Darian’s stepfather and older brother Davian carrying out what appears to be guns and loading them into a truck. Authorities say they believe that was done because Darian’s mother is a convicted felon and his family knew the police were going to come to the house.
Jewell said video footage also shows a car pulling up to the house and Darian getting a change of clothes from the vehicle’s trunk. Shortly after that, Darian’s mother reportedly called police to report a domestic disturbance. Biloxi officers responded but did not recognize Darian at the time because he had not yet been identified as the murder suspect. Darian’s brother Davian told officers he would make sure his brother left their mother’s property.
Kovach’s attorney, who waived his hearing, asked for a bond reduction. But the request was denied due to the nature of the crime. While arguing for bond reduction, Kovach’s attorney said it was a giant misunderstanding as to why Kovach was arrested because he didn’t know Darian Atkinson or have any contact with him.
What led to the arrests?
After a statewide manhunt for the accused killer resulted in Darian Atkinson’s arrest, police then started searching for anyone responsible in helping Atkinson in the 24 hours that he was on the run, which resulted in the five arrests.
Officials say Brice, Kovach and Sullivan Jr. were all charged because they provided clothing to Darian after the murder. According to investigators, Darian’s brothers, Davian and Wanya, were charged because they also allegedly helped Darian after the murder.
Darian appeared in court Tuesday for his preliminary hearing, where a Gulfport detective testified about Darian’s role in the murder.