Suspect in Haruka Weiser’s murder to plead not guilty

Meechail Criner is charged with capital murder in the murder

Meechaiel Criner and Haruka Weiser

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Meechaiel Criner, the suspect charged with capital murder in the killing of University of Texas at Austin freshman Haruka Weiser in April, will plead not guilty Friday.

Criner’s attorney, Ariel Payan, says the teenager will go before a judge Friday morning for an arraignment hearing. He says a mental evaluation of Criner has yet to be done.

Haruka Weiser (Courtesy photo)
Haruka Weiser (Courtesy photo)

The attorney described Criner as being in good spirits.

Criner turned 18 last Thursday. Because he was 17 at the time of the homicide, Criner is not eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

He was also moved to the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle from the Travis County Jail.

The teen was originally supposed to appear in court on June 8, but was rescheduled to July 8.

On the evening of April 3, Weiser called her friend as she was leaving the drama building at UT to say she was coming home. Her body was found April 5 in Waller Creek. Police said there were obvious signs of trauma to her body and evidence of sexual assault.

Police made the link to Criner after the Austin Fire Department alerted them to a trash fire they were called to on April 4 at 2900 Medical Arts Street, which is just off-campus.

When firefighters arrived, they found Criner, who had a woman’s bicycle in his possession, as well as a small blue duffel bag that resembles one owned by Haruka.

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