A not-guilty plea was entered Friday for Ian McCarthy, the man accused of gunning down a Clinton, Mo., police officer during a traffic stop late Sunday night.
McCarthy, 39, was arraigned in Henry County Circuit Court through a video hook-up from the county jail.
He is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Gary Michael.
Members of Michael’s family were in the courtroom Friday for the arraignment. Several sobbed quietly when his image appeared on the video screen.
About 25 uniformed police officers and sheriff’s deputies were also in the courtroom for the hearing.
A judge entered the not-guilty plea on his behalf and scheduled his next court appearance for Oct. 20.
McCarthy could potentially face the death penalty.
Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields said he would consult with relatives of Michael before deciding whether to seek a death sentence.
A public visitation for Michael will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Vansant-Mills Funeral Home, 314 W. Jefferson St. in Clinton. The funeral services are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Benson Convention Center, 1008 E. Sedalia Ave. in Clinton.
On Thursday, Henry County prosecutors charged William Grant Noble, 35, of Clinton with tampering with physical evidence for allegedly tossing a rifle used in the shooting death into a creek about two miles north of Clinton. Investigators found the weapon earlier that day.
The shooting happened Sunday night shortly after Michael had pulled over McCarthy on Missouri 13 for a vehicle registration violation.
As Michael emerged from his patrol car, prosecutors allege McCarthy also got out of a 2008 Dodge Nitro and shot the officer.
Michael returned the gunfire, wounding McCarthy.
McCarthy then allegedly drove away, but his SUV struck an embankment a few blocks away. McCarthy reportedly jumped out of vehicle and ran away.
The incident set off an intense two-day manhunt that ended when McCarthy was arrested after a motorist spotted him walking along a rural highway near Urich, Mo., and alerted authorities.
Video from surveillance cameras at two convenience stores spotted McCarthy in the Dodge Nitro just before the shooting. Police later found a .223 caliber rifle casing on the seat of the SUV.
Michael is the first line-of-duty death for the Clinton Police Department.
Prior to the fatal shooting on Sunday, McCarthy had warrants out for his arrest on weapons offenses — one in neighboring Johnson County, Mo., and one in New Hampshire, where McCarthy spent most of his adult life, according to court records.