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Daryl Lawrence arraigned on charges of killing Columbus officer

The man accused of killing a Columbus police officer during an attempted bank robbery pled innocent Thursday at his arraignment in US District Court in Columbus.

Daryl Lawrence wore a red prison jumpsuit and a blue jean jacket for his brief court appearance. His left arm was still bandaged from the bullet wound he sustained during a gun battle with officer Bryan Hurst.

Hurst was killed when a bullet hit him in the chest, just above his bullet proof vest. Lawrence is now charged with his murder and 7 other counts including multiple bank robbery charges and 3 counts of brandishing a firearm.

Two of those charges are eligible for the death penalty. US District Judge Gregory Frost asked Lawrence if he understood the charges and Lawrence said "yes." Asked how he's like to plead, Lawrence said "not guilty." Outside the court house, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said he wasn't surprised by the plea.

Under federal law, the US Attorney General will decide if Lawrence will face the death penalty. As Lawrence was ushered out of the court room his older sister told him "It's gonna be alright. Stay Strong." Several Columbus police officers were also in the audience.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.