Murder Trial

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2011

No need for lawyer, murder suspect tells city court judge

By Emily Williams and Billy Davis

A 21-year-old facing a murder charge made an initial appearance before Judge Bill McKenzie Wednesday during Batesville Municipal Court.

“We don’t see many murder cases in city court,” McKenzie told Derrick Burdette of Batesville.

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But Burdette had not waived his initial appearance, setting up the formal court procedure that ran about 10 minutes long.

Authorities allege Burdette shot Herman Smith January 24 while Smith sat in a car at Still Trailer Park in west Batesville.

An affidavit read aloud by McKenzie stated that Burdette was out on bond when he allegedly shot Smith at 114 Clinton Street with a .380 caliber handgun.

Burdette was out on bond for felony domestic violence, BPD Detective George Williford said after court Wednesday.

Smith survived multiple gunshots at the scene but later died at The Med in Memphis.

A handgun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered Wednesday, the detective also reported.

Burdette has been uncooperative with police investigators, who have yet to report a motive for the crime.

The suspect has yet to be represented by an attorney, too.

“Are you going to get a lawyer?” McKenzie asked after he read the affidavit.

“I’m going to represent myself,” responded Burdette.

“I’m going to suggest a lawyer is appointed to you,” responded McKenzie.

“It’s all about the evidence,” Burdette replied.

“What do you know about evidence laws?” asked McKenzie.

“I know from watching T.V.,” Burdette replied.

McKenzie set a preliminary hearing in two weeks.

Smith’s death was the first homicide in Batesville since 2008.