A man accused of shooting a Barnet man outside Maplefields earlier this week was escorted into the courtroom

A man accused of shooting a Barnet man outside Maplefields earlier this week was escorted into the courtroom Friday after being ordered to appear there by the judge.  Felipe Cotto, 40, of Massachusetts, could have appeared by video feed from inside the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility, where he’s being held, on Thursday, but he refused to go into the prison video conference room. Instead, the Caledonia County Sheriff’s Department was contracted to go to the jail on Friday and assure Cotto’s appearance before Judge Thomas Devine by delivering Cotto in restraints to the defense table in the courtroom.  Since the pandemic, court hearings by video have been the norm, including the appearance of people being held in jail. This was the case for Cotto’s co-defendant in the shooting case, Casey Squires, age 21, who appeared by video on Thursday, pleading not guilty to a charge that she was an accessory to the crime in which Nathan Smires, 36, was seriously injured when he was shot in the neck.  Seated alone at the defense table, Cotto was still and quiet while awaiting the start of his arraignment and throughout the proceeding. He did not stand when the judge addressed him and responded with head nods and shakes when asked questions. The hearing lasted only a few minutes.  Attorney Robert Katims, who appeared by video, entered a plea of not guilty to felony charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski, who was in the courtroom, had already made her argument through a written motion that Cotto should be held in jail without a bail option.

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