Suspect accused of killing Biloxi cop appears in court for the first time

Suspect accused of killing Biloxi cop appears in court for the first time
Darian Atkinson, 19, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of a Biloxi police officer.

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The shooting of a Biloxi police officer was caught on video, said a Harrison County judge Wednesday morning during the suspect’s initial appearance.

It was the first time Darian Atkinson has been before a judge since being arrested Monday evening. Atkinson, 19, is accused of shooting Officer Robert McKeithen Sunday night outside Biloxi Police headquarters.

Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen served the city for 24 years before being killed Sunday night outside the police department.
Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen served the city for 24 years before being killed Sunday night outside the police department. (Source: Photo Biloxi Police Dept.)

The 19-year-old walked into the courtroom smiling, wearing an army green suicide vest that covered him from his neck to his knees. Court officials said Darian Atkinson is on suicide watch because of his age and the nature of the charge against him.

Judge Brandon Ladner told him during the hearing that he was being charged because the crime was caught on video. Atkinson was also told the capital murder charge carried a maximum penalty of death.

“The incident was captured on video of you discharging a firearm and assaulting a police officer in front of the police department," said Ladner.

Because it is a pending investigation, authorities are not expected to release that video at this time.

Darian Atkinson responded to the judge, saying he had no questions.

The judge then asked Darian if he was going to hire an attorney or need one appointed, to which the 19-year-old responded that he didn’t know because he had not been allowed to call anyone. Darian told the judge he wanted to call his parents and discuss the issue with them.

Judge Ladner said he would make a note that Darian is still considering his options on legal representation and that Darian could enter his decision into the court’s record later this week.

Davian Atkinson, 21, is charged with accessory after the fact in the murder of Biloxi officer Robert McKeithen.
Davian Atkinson, 21, is charged with accessory after the fact in the murder of Biloxi officer Robert McKeithen. (Source: Photo Harrison Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

Darian’s 21-year-old brother is also charged in the officer’s death. Davian Atkinson was formally charged with accessory after the fact in the officer’s death. Davian’s charge is because he is accused of transporting Darian and allowing him to make phone calls while he was on the run from police.

Davian came into the courtroom from a different area to be read his charge.

He told Judge Ladner that he would hire his own attorney, also noting that he had not yet had the chance to make a phone call either.

His maximum penalty, derived from the capital murder charge, was set at 20 years in prison.

Both Darian and Davian answered all questions with yes sir and no sir and were not openly disrespectful of the authority in the room.

The brothers are both being held at Harrison County Jail in isolated custody instead of in general population, according to authorities.

Darian is being held without bond because he is charged with capital murder. Davian has a bond set of $500,000.

Judge Ladner set up another hearing for Friday to decide on representation. Both were informed that they have the right to a preliminary or probable cause hearing, and it would take place within 14 days of their request.

No cameras were allowed in the courtroom during Wednesday’s hearing.

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