Martha Childress' accused shooter has first day in court

COLUMBIA (WACH) - It was at the Federal Courthouse where Michael Juan Smith and his federal public defender, James Rogers, entered a plea of not guilty on Tuesday after Smith was indicted on federal weapons charges on November 5th.

This was Smith's first appearance in court in relation to these federal charges.

In addition to the entering of his not guilty plea, the issue of Smith's bond was addressed.

Assistant U.S Attorney Stacey Haynes responded that Smith's bond should be denied and he should continue to be incarcerated.

Also present at the arraignment was Joe McCulloch, who represents Martha Childress' family.

McCulloch was there with Martha's stepfather, Ron Johnson, who spoke with media after the arraignment was over.

He shared what the family is feeling as this process moves forward.

"Anger. The family still has a lot of anger of course because we are disappointed that this hardened criminal has shown no signs of remorse for what he did. And we think he should have been in prison to begin with." confides Johnson.

But positive things are happening when it comes to Martha and her recovery process.

"Martha is doing remarkably well. She's actually ahead in her recovery process down at the Shepherd's Center." Johnson explains.

And USC is doing everything it can to ensure Martha is able to continue with some of her classes while she recovers.

"Thanks to the University, Dr.Pastides and Dr.Brewer were able to get one of her classes changed to a room that would allow for Skyping and so forth. So one of her classes that she had on Tuesday, she is now able to rejoin her classmates." says Johnson.

And she is even making plans to come back to school in August.

"She has some of her classmates and sorority sisters who want to room with her next Fall. They already found a handicapped apartment that they have put the deposit down on. So she hopes to rejoin her classmates next Fall." Johnson states.

The family is also looking forward to hopefully having Martha home with them before Christmas.

A bright light in an otherwise stormy time for this family.

No date has been set as to when Smith will appear in court again.