Lawyer: Client had nothing to do with Batie murder

TRENTON — A lawyer Wednesday said his client — the second suspect in the Veterans Day shooting death of a Mercer County prison officer — was at the scene, but had nothing to do with the fatal 22-shot barrage at a Chambersburg landmark.

Attorney Jeff Broderick, public defender for Hykeem Tucker, made the defense after it came out that the suspect has been transferred to the Hudson County jail to keep him away from colleagues of the murder victim — Corrections Officer Carl Batie — at the Mercer jail.

Hykeem Tucker (Trenton Police Photo)

A video bail hearing between the Mercer jail and the courtroom of Mercer Superior Court Judge Gerald Counsel had been slated for Wednesday morning, but technical difficulties at the jail in Hudson prevented it from happening.

After court, Broderick said Tucker, 26, might have been at the ’Burg’s Baldassari Regency the night Batie was shot at a Sunday night party celebrating the re-election of President Obama, but had nothing to do with the murder.

Tucker was arrested Jan. 24 and charged with murder and weapons offenses. Maurice Skillman, 26, was taken into custody in December and charged with the same offenses. The case remains under investigation with police questioning others.

Batie was on the balcony of the Regency in Chambersburg when more than 20 shots rang out from the parking lot across the street. One of them struck Batie in the head and killed him.

Tucker is being held on $1 million bail. Skillman’s bail was also set at $1 million and a judge rejected his request to have it lowered.

Police have said they believe Batie, a five-year veteran of the corrections department, was an innocent bystander and not the target of the shooting. Authorities have not said if anyone else in the group might have been targeted by the gunman.

In the hours after Batie’s killing, city resident Shaquel Rock, 19, was also arrested and charged with making terroristic threats after he allegedly threatened a city police officer who was working off-duty at the Regency that night.

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