COQUILLE, Ore. (CBS/KVAL) There were tears on both sides as Nicholas McGuffin, the man charged in the decade-old murder of his former girlfriend Leah Freeman, was led into court Tuesday for his arraignment with tears streaming down his cheeks. Behind him, Leah's mother sat shaking and sobbing as McGuffin pleaded not guilty to her daughter's murder.
"I was staring at the man that's believed to be my daughter's killer," Cory Courtright told The Register-Guard. "I [could] hardly look at him. I nearly fainted."
McGuffin bowed his head and wiped away those tears while his attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. When the judge ordered a hearing on bail for Sept. 2, McGuffin thanked him, saying "I'm not a flight risk, I'm a family man, and I work hard," reports CBS affiliate KVAL.
Tensions were high in the small courtroom, and as Courtright sobbed McGuffin's mother, seated right behind Courtright, maintained her son's innocence which, according to the paper, sparked a bitter exchange between the two.
"Cry all you want," Kathleen McGuffin told Courtwright. "My son is innocent."
"Don't talk to me," Courtwright shot back. "Don't ever talk to me again."
After the hearing, the judge ordered the two families and their respective supporters to leave the courtroom separately, but the two families weren't always at odds with each other, according to the Register-Guard.
Courtright said that at first she didn't suspect Nick McGuffin of hurting her daughter, despite her reservations about their age difference. "I thought he was an all right kind of guy," she told the paper following the arraignment.
But that changed after Leah's body was found and now, ten years later, her daughter's high school sweetheart sits in jail on $2 million bond.
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