Shooting suspect Alex Deaton makes his first court appearance in Pratt.

A preliminary hearing is set for March 24 in Pratt County District Court the Alex Deaton case. Deaton is accused of allegedly shooting Kwik Shop clerk Riley Juel on Wednesday, March 1 and stealing his Cadillac.

Deaton made his first appearance in Pratt County District Court March 10. He looked straight ahead as he sat silently at the defense table in the courtroom only speaking to answer District Court Judge Frank Meisenheimer's questions.

Several people watched the proceedings including Juel who used a cane as he walked into the courtroom.

Meisenheimer read four charges against Deaton: One count of attempted first degree murder (for the alleged premeditated shooting of Juel), one count of aggravated robbery (robbery with bodily harm), one count of felony theft (allegedly stealing Juel's Cadillac) and one count of fleeing or attempting to allude a peace officer.

Meisenheimer asked if Deaton understood the charges and Deaton said "Yes sir." Meisenheimer asked if Deaton wanted a court appointed attorney and Deaton again responded "Yes sir." An attorney would either be appointed Friday afternoon or early the week of March 20.

A preliminary hearing date was set for Friday March 24 but Meisenheimer doubted it would happen then because he expected the appointed defense attorney or Assistant Attorney General Steven Wilhoft, who will be trying the case for the State Attorney General's Office, to request a continuance. Pratt County District Attorney Tracey Beverlin will be assisting Wilhoft in the trial.

At the preliminary hearing, prosecuting attorney Wilhoft will have to give evidence that supports probable cause that a crime was committed and probable cause that Deaton committed the crime.

Deaton also faces charges for two murders in Mississippi and robbery and a shooting in New Mexico.

Deaton is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

@GaleR_Tribune