Man accused of killing Memphis officer goes to court - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Man accused of killing Memphis officer goes to court

Murder suspect Alexander Haydel (left) with defense attorney Gerald Skahan. Murder suspect Alexander Haydel (left) with defense attorney Gerald Skahan.

(WMC-TV) - A Cleveland, Mississippi man accused of gunning down a Memphis police officer appeared in front of a judge for the first time Wednesday.

Alexander Haydel told the judge he could not afford a lawyer. His court-appointed attorney is Gerald Skahan.

"I talked to him briefly," Skahan said. "I told him who I was. That's the first time I've met him was in the courtroom today."

Haydel is charged with two counts of first degree murder, accused of shooting and killing Arthur Warren and Memphis Police Officer Tim Warren inside the DoubleTree Hotel Sunday night.

"I don't know any more about this case than what I learned from you guys in the media," Skahan said.

Skahan is the chief capital defense attorney in the public defender's office. He's represented some of Memphis' most notorious murderers, including Jessie Dotson and James Hawkins.

Both men were convicted and sentenced to death. Because of the charges outlined in the affidavit of complaint against Alexander Haydel, prosecutors could seek the death penalty in this case, too

But for Skahan, the first order of business will likely be determining Haydel's frame of mind.

"Whenever you've got a situation like this the competency and mental state are always an issue," he said. "Whether it is in this case I don't know - I'd be guessing if I said I know."

After Monday's initial appearance, at the request of attorneys on both sides, a judge ordered Haydel to undergo a mental evaluation.

In the meantime, Haydel is being held without bond at 201 Poplar.

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Action News 5 will stream Officer Warren's funeral live on WMCTV.com, and on your mobile phone at http://m.livestream.com/actionnews5

You can also watch on Action News 5 WeatherPlus, broadcast digital channel 5.2, or channel 4 on Comcast digital cable.

The funeral is scheduled for Friday, July 8, at 10:00 a.m.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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