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Suspect In Cleveland Detective's Murder Makes First Court Appearance

David McDaniel appeared in front of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ann Clare Oakar via video. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
photo of david mcdaniel

Updated: 3:20 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020

The 18-year-old Cleveland man accused of killing a Cleveland police detective made his first court appearance Wednesday.

David McDaniel appeared via video conferencing in Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ann Clare Oakar’s courtroom. He's charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the killings of Cleveland police Det. James Skernivitz and Scott Dingess on Sept. 3.

The state requested a $2 million bond. 

His public defender, Mark Jablonski requested some leniency.

“Mr. McDaniel resides in the City of Cleveland. He has zero prior criminal history. I just ask the court to take that under consideration,” Jablonski said.

Oakar set bond at $3 million.

McDaniel also requested a probable cause hearing in municipal court to determine whether to send the case to the county common pleas court. That hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16.

Two juveniles have been charged along with McDaniel. A 15-year-old entered a plea of not guilty in juvenile court Wednesday. The third defendant, a 17-year-old, plead not guilty on Tuesday. 

According to court records, McDaniel and the two juveniles approached Skernivitz and Dingess while the two were sitting in a car behind Rose's Discount Store on West 65th Street in the Stockyards neighborhood.

The police allege that the killing happened after an attempted robbery. 

According to the county prosecutor's office, the two juveniles each face 5 counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of felonious assault. 

The day before Skernivitz was killed, he was sworn into the federal task force Operation Legend.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, at a press conference in Chicago Wednesday, acknowledged Skernivitz's death.

"Operation Legend will not be the same without Det. Skernivitz, but the good work he has done will live on," Barr said.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.