Man accused of killing officer makes 1st court appearance

The 19-year-old accused of killing a veteran Mississippi police officer smiled and hummed as he was led into court Wednesday but was wearing a knee-length vest the sheriff said is for inmates considered suicide risks.

The Sun Herald reports Darian (DEHR-uhn) Atkinson told Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner he doesn't know if he needs a public defender because he hasn't been able to call his family. The judge scheduled a hearing Friday.

Atkinson was in a jail courtroom for his initial appearance on a charge of capital murder in the death of 57-year-old Biloxi Police Patrolman Robert McKeithen (muh-KEETH-en) on Sunday.

Atkinson's 21-year-old brother told the judge he'll hire his own lawyer. The judge said Davian Atkinson is accused of driving his brother out of town and letting him make phone calls.