CHARLOTTE, NC -- A Charlotte-Mecklenburg County judge has denied bond for Angelo Smith, Junior on a first degree murder charge. He accused of killing his girlfriend, Bianca Tanner.
During the appearance on Monday, Smith was denied bond and was granted a court appointed attorney. His next scheduled court date is July 16.
"The medical examiner has to determine the cause of death which is the first-step," said Criminal defense attorney Locke Clifford.
Charlotte Police found human remains believed to be of Tanner last Thursday morning in a wooded area near the intersection on Shopton Road West and Westinghouse Boulevard. That's 20 miles from where Tanner was last seen.
Clifford said the next procedural step, after the first appearance in court, will involve a Rule 24 hearing.
"At a Rule 24 hearing, the State of North Carolina through the Mecklenburg County prosecutor will present what evidence they have that makes this an aggravated case," Clifford said.
If the judge finds there is evidence to support that, then he will declare the case a capital murder case. If he is convicted of first-degree murder, a jury will determine whether he gets life without parole or if he gets the death penalty.
Greensboro criminal defense lawyer Locke Clifford believes after an indictment is handed down. there will be a trial or some type of plea agreement.
As for the prior charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Clifford said it won't necessarily play a role in this trial.
"That was simply a way to get of the criminal justice system to see if he could be found because Ms. Tanner was missing at the time."
There are five possible verdicts the jury could deliver for Smith: guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of voluntary of manslaughter, guilty of involuntary manslaughter or not guilty.
But Clifford wants everyone to remember that Smith is innocent until proven guilty.