Harbison Shows No Emotion In Court

Locator map shows proximity of crime scene and Harbison's location.
Locator map shows proximity of crime scene and Harbison's location.
Nicholas Harbison and Misty Davis
Nicholas Harbison and Misty Davis

New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

UPDATE, FRI, 6:00 AM: Triple murder suspect Nicholas Harbison appears before a Pike County judge for the first time Thursday, and security was tight.

Even though Harbison reportedly confessed to the murders of three young people, an automatic plea of 'not guilty' was entered on his behalf.

Pike County Sheriff Todd Meadors says, "A bittersweet feeling for a lot of the victims families today. Happy to see Mr. Harbison in custody, coming to court, but obviously very upset because they've lost their loved ones."

Nicholas Harbison showed no emotion as he walked into the Pike County courthouse, having dyed his hair orange when he was on the run and wearing the standard county-issued orange jumpsuit.

Harbison is facing three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Prosecutor Darrin McDonald tells us, "We're just getting started. The hard part is ahead of us. And if you consider that possibly, we'll be asking that this man's life be taken, we have to make sure we do everything right."

Harbison is accused of killing 21-year-old Daniel "Spencer" White, 18-year old Keela Lynch and 17-year-old Rebekah Acorn. All were shot to death; their bodies found in a Pike County cornfield.

White's brother, Cameron, was also shot and stabbed but he survived and has now been released from a Louisville hospital

Friday, in front of the courthouse entrance, there's a poster for the community to sign, showing support for the victim's families.

Rebekah's mother Nancy Acorn says it's the beginning of closure for their family. "It's the first step, first step."

Harbison's appearance lasted less than 30 minutes. He answered the judge's questions with a quick, "yes sir" or "no sir", alongside his court-appointed attorney from Jasper.

When it was over the families told the media they needed a little break.

Keela Lynch's stepfather, Randy Wangler, stated, "This is just getting started. We've got a long road ahead of us. We don't want to shut you out and tell you you're not welcome here, but today - the family - we're tired."

The judge in the case set Harbison's trial date for January 31st. There is some question of whether he'll get a change of venue due to the national publicity. But that hasn't been determined just yet.

Harbison will appear in court again September 19th, for a pre-trial conference.  Sheriff Todd Meadors says he's being held in an isolated cell.

Previously: Court records show, Nick Harbison admits to killing two teenagers and a 21-year-old, and attempting to kill another teen, in a cornfield just over two weeks ago.

A probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday in Gibson Circuit Court says Nicholas Harbison also told Indiana State Police where they could find a rifle used in the attacks.

Two guns were found, but ISP Sergeant Todd Ringle says, it's too early to know whether these were the guns used in the attacks.

Investigators searched a Gibson County house and nearby barn Tuesday night, but state police declined to say what evidence they found.

Harbison is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Pike County Thursday.

He's charged with murder in the deaths of 21-year-old Daniel White, 18-year-old Keela Lynch and 17-year-old Rebekah Acorn. He's also charged with attempted murder in the attack on the only survivor, Cameron White. Cameron is Daniel White's 18-year-old brother.

Police say the victims were shot and stabbed in the cornfield, located about 35 miles north of Evansville on July 17th.

Harbison is being held without bond in the Pike County jail.

Authorities are still deciding whether to press any charges his girlfriend Misty Davis. It will also take some time for the prosecutor's office to see if the families involved want the state to seek the death penalty.

Stay with us, we'll have coverage of Harbison's court appearance right here, and later on Newswatch.

Copyright 2006 WFIE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.