NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - The man accused of shooting and killing Newport police lieutenant Patrick Weatherford appeared in circuit court Tuesday.
Tyler Calamese, along with friends and family attended the quick hearing.
When asked if he had a lawyer, Janet Reynolds, his grandmother, told the judge the family planned to hire a private lawyer.
But for now, Calamese is represented by public defenders.
Reynolds broke down and hugged Calamese before he left the courtroom, stating Calamese was innocent.
"He's innocent," Reynolds said. "He is innocent and that's all I've got to say. I'm going to support him all the way through."
Calamese initially turned himself into police on the night of Weatherford's death, and was held initially in the Jackson Co. Detention Center.
Deputies later transferred Calamese from Jackson County to the Craighead County Detention Center in Jonesboro. Sheriff Marty Boyd told Region 8 News it is "common practice" to remove suspects accused of killing police officers from the originating jurisdiction.
His next court appearance is set for Aug. 3.
Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce told Region 8 News that his office had up to 60 days to file formal charges per Arkansas law.
Boyce had also requested Calamese's case be sealed. Circuit Court Judge Harold Erwin signed documents sealing the case on June 13.
Boyce listed the following reasons for wanting to seal the records:
- It includes audio or video interviews of minors
- It may include graphic recordings of the death of Lt. Weatherford
- It includes the names of people under further investigation for possible charges of tampering with physical evidence or hindering apprehension and public disclosure of those names at this time, may drive said persons into hiding or result in the destruction of evidence.
- The disclosure of certain aspects of the investigation could hamper the ability of the court to empanel a fair and impartial jury by prejudicial pretrial publicity.
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