AUBURN, Ala. – The man accused of killing Auburn University freshman Lauren Burk and leaving her to die was in court Monday to face capital murder and attempted rape charges as a campus-wide memorial service was held to honor the Georgia teen.
At the preliminary hearing for murder suspect Courtney Lockhart, 23, the judge read the warrants accusing Lockhart of holding up 18-year-old Burk gunpoint on campus, forcing her into his car, driving off with her inside, stealing her bank card and attempting to rape her.
When she tried to escape, he shot her, according to the complaint.
Police have said Burk was not sexually assaulted. Lockhart could face the death penalty if convicted.
Phenix City police arrested Lockhart on Friday and charged him with murder in Burk's death. He also is charged with kidnapping, robbery and attempted rape.
About the time the 3 p.m. CDT (4 p.m. EDT) hearing got under way, the memorial service on campus for Burk was also going on.
The memorial gathering included school President Jay Gogue and the president of Burk's Delta Gamma sorority, Alison Penuel.
Also Monday, Auburn University said it has begun new security measures after Burk's abduction and shooting death, but the director of campus safety has not been told where the student was kidnapped.
Maj. Melvin Owens, the school's executive director of security and public safety, said Monday he has not been told whether Burk was abducted on campus or at a site away from the school; police have said some information is being withheld for investigative reasons.
Owens said the school has increased the hours of its security shuttles and has implemented an escort service for students leaving the library.
Burk was a freshman at Auburn and a graduate of Walton High School in Marietta, Ga.
She was found last Tuesday night on the side of a road about five miles from campus, suffering from a gunshot wound. She died later at a hospital.
Her 2001 Honda Civil was discovered about half an hour later burning in a campus parking lot.
Burk's funeral was held Sunday in Marietta, where her family lives.
The campus service was at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
Over the weekend, Lockhart's mother apologized to Burk's family, though she said he hasn't confessed committing the crime to her.
Catherine Williams said her son was an Iraq war veteran who came back from serving overseas a changed man. Williams made the tearful apology to Burk's family in an interview with Columbus, Ga., TV station WTVM.
"I am sorry that Courtney did that. ... First let me say I'm sorry to the Burk family for Courtney taking, taking their child. ... My heart goes out to her family," Williams said in the emotional interview.
Auburn Assistant Police Chief Thomas Dawson said authorities have strong evidence to prove that Lockhart killed Burk.
Dawson declined to identify the evidence or potential motives for the crimes, and he wouldn't say conclusively whether Burk had been targeted or was the victim of a random crime.
"I don’t believe he targeted her for that long, if he targeted her at all," Dawson said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.