Accused Cop Killer Pleads Not Guilty

The gang member accused of killing Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer and injuring a second officer during a gunfight has pleaded not guilty.

Michael Christopher Mejia, shackled and dressed in bright orange jail clothes, smirked at his family members during a brief hearing in a courtroom in Norwalk Monday.

A judge ordered Mejia to return to court May 30 for a preliminary hearing, though that could be delayed.

Mejia is being held without bail since his arrest at the scene of the gunfight February 20.

His defense lawyer said the L.A. County Sheriff's Department has cut-off Mejia's access to visitors or phone calls, and said he would make a formal objection at the next court date.

Prosecutors told the judge the restrictions were placed with another judge's permission because Mejia had assaulted deputies while in jail.

The case against Mejia could lead to a death sentence if he's convicted, though the L.A. County District Attorney's Office has not yet announced whether it would seek the death penalty.

Mejia is charged with the murder of Officer Boyer with the special circumstance allegations of murder of a police officer, murder for the purpose of avoiding arrest, and multiple murders.

He's also charged with the attempted murder of Officer Patrick Hazell, and the murder of Mejia's cousin, Roy Torres, who's body was found in East L.A. the same day as the gunfight with Boyer and Hazell.

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