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Capitol Hill shooting suspect makes court appearance

Weston remained held without bond after a court hearing in Washington Wednesday  
September 23, 1998
Web posted at: 2:46 p.m. EDT (1846 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Russell E. Weston Jr., charged with shooting two police officers to death inside the Capitol two months ago, made his first appearance in court Wednesday but did not enter a plea.

Weston, disheveled-looking and confined to a wheelchair, remained held without bond in connection with the July 24 shooting, in which he and a tourist were also wounded.

Weston's lawyer, A.J. Kramer, said his client, "is in great pain" from the four gunshot wounds he suffered in the incident and is unable to walk. He said he did not know if Weston would walk again.

Weston appeared pale and weak when he was wheeled into the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola. Weston has had at least four surgeries and faces more procedures, according to Kramer.

Weston wore a bright orange prison jumpsuit and had casts on his right arm and left leg. He was cleanshaven, but his graying hair was unkempt.

Weston's voice was calm and clear when he responded "yes" to several questions Facciola asked him concerning his rights as an accused murderer possibly facing the death penalty.

He turned to his lawyer after each question for guidance on his response. The only other comment made by Weston was in response to the judge's question as to where he lived. "At the Washington, D.C. hospital," he said.

Weston, who has not been indicted, waived his right to a preliminary hearing within the next 10 days. That hearing is now scheduled for October 14.

Kramer would not discuss the mental capabilities of his client and would not say if Weston would enter an insanity plea if formally charged in the case.

Kramer said his office was conducting a background investigation into all relevant aspects of Weston's life.

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