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Cosby shooting suspect pleads innocent

Markhasev March 28, 1997
Web posted at: 8:30 p.m. EST

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Mikhail Markhasev, the man accused of shooting comedian Bill Cosby's son Ennis, pleaded not guilty Friday during his first appearance in court.

Ennis Cosby, 27, was shot to death January 16 on a desolate Los Angeles road where he was changing a flat tire on his Mercedes-Benz. Mikhail entered his plea through his lawyer, Charles Lindner.

In addition to murder, the 18-year-old Markhasev is charged with attempted robbery and use of a firearm during a crime. Prosecutors also allege a special circumstance of murder during attempted robbery, which could allow the death penalty if he is convicted.

Crime

Reporters were allowed in the courtroom for the arraignment, but were not allowed to photograph the suspect.

Markhasev, handcuffed and dressed in a blue jumpsuit, said spoke only once during his appearance, answering "Yes, your honor" to indicate he understood the charges against him and other rights.

After the arraignment, Markhasev returned to jail, where he is being held without bail. His next hearing is April 18.

Lindner

Outside the courtroom, Lindner offered condolences to the Cosby family. "The loss of any human being, especially a young man in his prime, is tragic," he said.

Neither Markhasev's relatives nor Bill Cosby or members of his family attended the brief hearing.

Lindner said he had no plans to ask the judge to move the trial to another city due to pretrial publicity.

"Is there anybody in the Western world that is not familiar with the Cosby family?" he asked. "Where else would we conceivably go to try this case?"

Correspondent Jim Hill contributed to this report.  
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