NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man accused of shooting and killing NYPD Detective Randolph Holder has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, including aggravated murder and robbery.
NYPD Officers crowded the Lower Manhattan courtroom Tuesday morning for Tyrone Howard‘s arraignment. Howard sat slumped in a chair at the defense table as his attorney entered the plea, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
The 31-year-old is accused of shooting Holder in the head on Oct. 20 outside of a housing project in East Harlem. Holder was responding to a report of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint when he was killed, police said.
“This week, the family of Detective Randolph Holder will have to spend their first holiday with an empty seat at the table,” said District Attorney Cy Vance. “The death of Detective Holder shook our city, and left his loved ones without a fiancé, a son, and a brother. The defendant in this case, Tyrone Howard, is charged with willfully and maliciously murdering one of New York’s Finest. This prosecution will not bring back this brave public servant, but we hope, by seeking justice, it will bring a measure of comfort for Detective Holder’s family, his colleagues in the NYPD, and the City as a whole.”
Some of the officers showed up at the courthouse wearing shirts bearing a phrase they said Holder lived by, “It is better to live one day as a lion than one day as a sheep,” WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, more than 80 officers crowded into court and stared down Howard.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said they will be back in court each and every time Howard is.
Howard’s attorney, Michael Hurwitz, said his client is not intimidated by the show of support from police.
“It’s certainly to be expected,” Hurwitz said, adding that his client is innocent and believes he will receive a fair trial.
Outside the courtroom, Lynch said he hopes the city will continue to support all officers, like Holder, who go to work prepared to give their lives if necessary.
“When we have terrible attacks in France where we’re on guard here in New York City to make sure that doesn’t happen on our shores, the people that are making sure that doesn’t happen, putting themselves at risk, stand behind me today,” Lynch said.
Holder was posthumously promoted to detective at his funeral by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. He was also issued a new gold shield with the same number of the badge worn by his father, who is a retired police officer.
Randolph Holder Sr. was in court for the arraignment. Lynch spoke on his behalf.
“It takes extraordinary courage for him to sit behind, restrain himself like these police officers do each and every day to make sure that he could look eye to eye with the animal that killed his son,” Lynch said.
Holder’s fiancee Mary Muahmmad was too distraught to speak after the arraignment, but she did speak to CBS2 a few days after the killing.
“He left, he said ‘I love you, I’ll see you later, and he never came back,'” she said.
Earlier this month, Howard was sentenced to 12 years in prison in an unrelated drug case. If convicted in this case, Howard faces life in prison without parole.