One Suspect Arraigned in Teenager's Murder
The state on Thursday arraigned Michael Lee Stidham Jr., one of five people indicted in connection with a drive-by shooting in Robbins that took the life of a teenager.
Tomas Pedro Pascual died March 31 after being shot with a rifle while standing with friends on the corner across from Tabernacle Methodist Church.
Stidham's attorney, C. Scott Holmes, had requested an arraignment. Pascual's family filed into the courtroom to hear District Attorney Maureen Krueger formally charge Stidham with murdering Pascual. They had been expecting to hear whether the state would seek the death penalty.
Krueger had scheduled a Rule 24 hearing, during which she might have notified the defense that the state would be seeking a death penalty. Instead, she asked the court to grant a continuance.
"We have just received some discovery, and would prefer to have read it carefully before proceeding with a Rule 24 hearing," Krueger said. "The state would ask that this conference be continued to July 1 for good cause."
Holmes then entered a not guilty plea for Stidham and then requested that Superior Court Judge Cassie Thigpen waive deadlines for motions that would have expired.
Krueger had no objection, and she suggested a new July 1 deadline for motions be set by the court.
The grand jury also had indicted Briant Andrew McKinney for Pascual's murder. It indicted McKinney's brother Trae Bradley McKinney, as an accessory after the fact for hiding the rifle along with their mother Tara Lynnette Reynolds and step-father Benjamen Allen Reynolds III.
Both Trae McKinney and his mother had been in the courtroom the day before, but no action was taken at that time. They were not present for Stidham's arraignment.
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