Updated at 10:38 a.m. Friday: Judge David Wahlberg of the 167th Criminal District Court chose not to arraign Criner on Friday, despite he and his defense being prepared to plead not guilty. Criner’s defense team had motions for unredacted discovery — or unaltered evidence — which the judge approved. The defense also asked for transcripts of the grand jury hearing and received 32 disks of discovery, or CDs containing evidence.
No plea was entered. Criner is expected to appear in court again on September 22.
From Thursday: Meechaiel Criner, who was charged with capital murder in the death of UT theatre and dance freshman Haruka Weiser, will plead not guilty Friday, said his lawyer.
Ariel Payan, his attorney, said a mental evaluation of Criner has not been performed but that the teenager was “in good spirits,” according to KXAN.
Weiser was reported missing on Monday, April 4, after she was last seen alive the previous night leaving a dance practice at the Winship Drama Building. On April 5, her body was found in Waller Creek, behind the Etter-Harbin alumni center near San Jacinto and East 23rd streets.
After releasing video footage of the suspect on April 7, APD received anonymous tips that led them to identify Criner as the suspect.
Criner, who turned 18 last Thursday, will not face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the murder. He was recently moved to the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle from the Travis County Jail, reported KXAN.
Note: The original headline read 'Criner to plead not guilty in murder of UT freshman.' This post has been updated throughout.