A day after he refused to be transported from jail, the man accused of raping and murdering 6-year-old Sierra Newbold made his first court appearance Friday.
Terry Lee Black, 41, spoke seldom and softly during the short hearing in 3rd District Court. His hands were cuffed and secured to a chain around his waist, and his belly hung below his yellow Salt Lake County jail uniform.
Black, whose family had hired a private attorney to represent him in a robbery case that police say eventually led to him as a murder suspect, will be appointed a public defender in the murder case.
"It's a huge case," said defense attorney Ari Chino, who will remain as counsel in the robbery case. "It's going to be very, very expensive."
Chino told reporters he spoke briefly with Black prior to Friday's hearing, but only about the appointment of a public defender. Chino did not know why Black refused to be transported Tuesday and declined to comment on the specifics of the robbery defense.
Chino said Black's family is experiencing "shock at what he's been accused of."
Another hearing was set for July 31.
Black is being held in the jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
It was his arrest for allegedly robbing a West Jordan Wells Fargo that police say that gave them a break in the murder investigation. A detective noticed dark stains on the man's hands and clothes that looked like they could have come from the burned field behind the Newbolds' home. Police later took DNA swabs of Black's genitals and found Sierra's DNA profile, charges state.
On June 29 three days after Sierra's death Â Black walked inside a Wells Fargo at 7869 S. Redwood and told a teller he needed $100, charges state. When the teller asked for identification, Black allegedly said, "This is a robbery." Black then held up four fingers, the charges state. The teller asked if he wanted $400 and he said that he wanted $4,000, according to court documents.
The teller Black she would need to go to the bank's vault for the money and, when she turned around, Black walked out of the bank, according to police.
Black lived a short distance from the Newbolds' home and infrequently attended the same church events.
Police found Sierra's body in a canal behind her home on June 26. According to charges filed earlier this week, home surveillance footage shows someone entering the Newbold home around 3 a.m. through a sliding door and leaving eight minutes later, carrying something.
Salt Lake County prosecutor Robert Stott on Friday said his office is still investigating and gathering evidence in the murder case. Black has been charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony that carries the possibility of a death sentence, though prosecutors have yet to say if they will seek such a penalty. Prosecutors have until 60 days after a preliminary hearing to formally declare if they will seek death.
"At some future point, if we decide we want to seek the death penalty, we will give that notice," Stott said.
Those who know him say Black struggled with alcohol and would go on binges, sometimes for "weeks."
He's had run-ins with the law in the past, though his previous charges were limited to misdemeanors.
In 2008, Black pleaded guilty to burglary for breaking into two cars near a Midvale TRAX station while he was drunk. When an officer found him sitting in one of the cars, he allegedly said he was looking for change for a TRAX ticket.
In 2006, he pleaded guilty to attempted forgery and intoxication.
On July 6, 1991, a drunken Black, then 19, broke out the windows on a Richfield apartment and then hid in a nearby garage, Richfield Police Chief John Evans said. As police arrested Black, one officer was cut by the man's knife.