17-year-old pleads not guilty in 2-year-old nephew's death
A 17-year-old charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his 2-year-old nephew has pleaded not guilty.
The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports Zachary M. Pherigo also pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Macon County Court to charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Pherigo appeared with attorney David Ellison. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled Nov. 17.
The coroner said toddler Justin Lee Murphy Jr. was fatally shot in his torso Oct. 16. Decatur police say Pherigo told them he was babysitting the boy and they were playing "cops and robbers" when the shooting occurred. Police say Pherigo said he didn't know the .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun was loaded.