Auburn Shooting Suspect Appears Before Judge

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The man suspected of shooting six people in Auburn on Saturday appeared before a Lee County judge for his arraignment this morning.

Amid very high security, Desmonte Leonard stood to listen to his charges.  District Judge Russell K. Bush said Leonard is charged with three counts of capital murder and two counts of assault.

Leonard did not enter a plea.  He said he could not afford to pay an attorney, so the judge appointed the law firm of Susan James to handle his case.  James is the lawyer who negotiated his surrender with U.S. Marshals on Tuesday evening.

Desmonte Leonard's booking photo (Lee County Jail)

Lawyers for James' firm say they have been assigned to capital murder cases in the past and have 20-plus years of experience.

They talked with us after the hearing to explain what is next in the case.

"He was advised of the charges against him, the next step, a preliminary hearing that we will file a motion for in the upcoming days," said Denise Simmons.

Family and friends of the shooting victims were present, along with some of Leonard's family members.  All went through high security screenings, and more than two dozen armed police officers were in the courtroom.

Leonard will be held without bond. It's not clear where he will be locked up, though.  WHNT News 19 did spot him being escorted out of the Lee County Jail following Thursday's arraignment.

Thursday night, Auburn University will hold a candlelight vigil on campus.  It will be on the lawn of Samford Hall at 8 p.m.  WHNT News 19 will be there.