Student accused in killing out on bond
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The woman accused of killing a Middle Tennessee State University women's basketball player was released from jail Friday on bond, and her parents said they planned to take their daughter home and hoped to meet with the family of the slain student.
A Friday viewing was scheduled for the junior guard, Tina Stewart. Her funeral was set for Saturday in Memphis.
Meanwhile, the parents of the suspect, Shanterrica Madden, said they hope to talk soon with Stewart's parents, with the families' pastors on hand.
"That's what we need," said Madden's father, Frank. "We all lost something here, and we need to just come together."
Madden, 18, had her bond set at $100,000 on Friday, and her preliminary hearing was rescheduled. She appeared in Rutherford County General Sessions Court on Friday wearing an orange jumpsuit on a charge of first-degree murder in the March 3 stabbing death of Stewart in the off-campus apartment they shared. Madden's family sat in the courtroom along with Stewart's boyfriend, Middle Tennessee basketball player KC Anuna.
No details of what happened in the apartment that night came out in the few minutes before Judge David Loughry. The judge did grant a request from Madden's defense attorney, ordering police to preserve any postings by Stewart and Madden on social networking sites like Twitter. Her preliminary hearing was moved to March 24.
District Attorney General Bill Whitesell said the hearing was pushed back so Stewart's family would have the opportunity to attend.
Defense attorney Joe Brandon Jr. had asked that the Twitter postings be preserved to bolster his argument that Madden defended herself in a fight with her roommate.
"Well, these tweets that were going on is a prime example of exactly what was going on right before this happened. An example of Miss Stewart calling Miss Madden a b----, and someone responding 'Don't hurt her.' That's what was going on before this unfortunate and unforeseen series of events unfolded," Brandon said.
Anuna has said Stewart was reporting Madden because of something the freshman had done in the apartment. Murfreesboro police have said that they are investigating whether drugs were in the apartment but that Stewart was not believed to be involved in any drug use. Authorities have also declined to discuss who called 911 to report a disturbance that night.
Brandon said Madden would be posting bond later Friday and heading back with her family to Memphis. Her parents spoke to reporters in a conference room at Brandon's office across the street, where they defended their daughter as someone who has never been a problem.
They displayed Madden's high school diploma, transcripts and photos in defending the young woman. Her father spoke of his dash to Murfreesboro the night of March 3 to check on his daughter's safety, but Madden's parents didn't get to see their daughter in jail until Thursday through a glass partition.
Her mother, Shantel Madden, said they would take their daughter home where she won't leave.
Madden had been studying psychology and political science, planning to become an attorney. Brandon said Madden has been suspended from the university and plans to withdraw so she can protect her GPA for a transfer to a different college.
Anuna also was in the courtroom Friday. He slipped into a seat and left just as quietly wearing a shirt with the phrase "20GETHER," which her Middle Tennessee teammates have been wearing since her death. Stewart wore No. 20.
Stewart's teammates played, and lost, their lone game in the Sun Belt Conference tournament Sunday. Now the Blue Raiders (23-7) are waiting to see if they earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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