Haitim Taha appears in court after extradition from Israel
After being extradited from Israel, a 22-year-old murder suspect appeared in court Saturday.
Haitim Taha is one of two people accused of killing Leroy Lawrence, a 17-year-old caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting in April 2017. Taha said very little during his brief time in court.
Leroy's parents, Angela Pointer and Gene Lawrence attended the hearing.
"I'm glad he's back," Pointer said. "He needs to be held accountable, just like all of us."
This is the first time Taha has been seen in Anchorage since he was arrested in Israel last fall.
"It was hard. It's hard — hard to watch it, hard to go through it again, it hasn't even started yet," Lawrence said.
Police say Leroy was not the target of the shooting. He died while he walked to a friend's house.
"You've taken something from us and you've taken our child from us," Pointer said, outside the Anchorage jail after the hearing. "He was 17. You killed him on his birthday."
Anthony Salazar is also charged with Leroy's death. Anchorage police arrested Salazar in July 2017.
Prosecutors said it's not clear who fired the shot that killed Leroy. But, both Taha and Salazar are charged with first-degree murder, since police believe they acted together.
Leroy's parents hope the two will be tried together.
"That'd be even better because then it's not two trials we've got to go through," Pointer said. "Two separate trials, two separate watching the videos and re-traumatizing the family from watching all the evidence they got against him, so it's hard."
Difficult as it will be, both parents said they plan to attend every court hearing for the two suspects accused of killing their son.
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