By DUNCAN MANSFIELD
Associated Press Writer
KINGSTON, Tenn.- A former fugitive who authorities say ordered his wife to shoot a prison guard during a daring courthouse escape was arraigned Monday on a charge of first-degree murder.Under heavy security, a shackled George Hyatte offered no plea in the killing of Wayne "Cotton" Morgan, 56. Under state law, he was not required to enter a plea, and the case will proceed as if he had pleaded not guilty.
The judge set a tentative trial date for Aug. 8 _ nearly one year to the day since police say Hyatte and his wife, Jennifer Hyatte, 31, a former prison nurse, made their escape from the Roane County Courthouse as Morgan was escorting George Hyatte back to prison.
Prosecutors have said the couple could face the death penalty.
During the arraignment, Hyatte, 34, only complained about his lawyer.
"I am not being represented fairly and efficiently," Hyatte said, mumbling that he was complaining "just for the record."
Judge Eugene Eblen made a note but took no action to replace court-appointed attorney Cynthia Schemel. Schemel said Hyatte was cooperating with his defense team.
The hearing was at the same courthouse where the shooting took place.
According to police, Jennifer Hyatte ambushed Morgan and partner Larry Harris as they were leading George Hyatte to a van after a court appearance back to prison, where he was serving a 41-year sentence for robbery and other offenses.
In a preliminary hearing, Harris testified that George Hyatte yelled "Shoot him!" when he saw his wife, and the couple ran to a getaway car and sped away. The Hyattes, who met and married while George Hyatte was in prison, were captured 36 hours later in a Columbus, Ohio, motel room.