VIDEO: Man charged with hate crime murder of Richmond musician pleads not guilty

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RICHMOND (KRON) — A man charged with a hate crime murder of an East Bay musician pleaded not guilty on Monday in a Contra Costa County courtroom.

The arraignment proceeding got a little contentious between the prosecution and defense attorneys, according to KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun. At issue was a lack of discovery evidence being made available in the case.

The prosecution will not pursue the death penalty against 31-year-old Daniel Porter-Kelley in the Will Sims hate crime murder case.

“With respect to this particular individual, the key factors are lack of significant criminal record,” Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said.

Another key factor is the defendant did not pull the trigger of the gun that shot Sims.

“I have not, as you can see by the complaint, charged Mr. Porter-Kelley with a personal use enhancement,” Butts said. “You might infer from that, that he didn’t personally use a firearm.”

Not pursuing the death penalty is not going far enough, says Defense Attorney Colin Cooper, because he says his client had “absolutely nothing to do with it, and we will ultimately be able to show that,” Cooper said.

Cooper said his confidence is rooted in the fact that his client has been jailed for a week, and the prosecution has yet to produce any evidence against him.

“I have been an attorney for 27 years,” Cooper said. “I have never had a murder case where I came to court and wasn’t given a report or an arrest warrant suggesting what they think his involvement was.”

The prosecution told the court that the arrest warrants have not been written yet because the investigators are busy searching for the two remaining suspects wanted for Sims’ murder.

“We’re searching for two suspected killers,” Butts said. “We are going to prioritize and not put pen to paper so to speak and rather use those energies to find the people who are still at large.”

That explanation was good enough for the judge who ruled against releasing Daniel Porter-Kelly from jail on his own recognizance.

He remains behind bars with no bail.

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