By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
More than 20 family and friends gathered Thursday outside the Farrell district court of Judge Ronald Antos to support the man accused of shooting Andrew T. Walko to death on May 13.
They were there to encourage Miguel Julians Huey, 26, of 200 Orange Drive, Apartment 7A, Hermitage, who is charged with criminal homicide, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, five counts of aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license, making terroristic threats and unlawful restraint.
Southwest Mercer County Regional police said Huey killed Walko, who was outside the home of his stepson, Nicholas Verrill, at 823 Emerson Ave. in Farrell.
Huey and two other men had invaded the Verrill home, where they beat and robbed Verrill and shot twice, police said.
Walko, who was walking his dog, was outside the house and was hit in the chest by the gunfire; he bled to death in the driveway, police said.
With Huey sitting alone at the defense table in Antos’ courtroom and witnesses and the prosecution ready for Thursday’s preliminary hearing, Antos ruled for a continuance.
The judge said he was told that the attorney Huey thought he hired did not show up because he didn’t get paid.
Antos said he would request a public defender be assigned to represent Huey and rescheduled the preliminary hearing for 11:15 a.m. June 6.
As Huey shuffled out of the building with law enforcement, his supporters shouted, “We love you Miguel,” “Hang in there,” and other encouraging remarks.
“Thanks guys,” Huey smiled, as he was led to a Southwest cruiser for his ride back to Mercer County Jail.
Three women who identified themselves as Huey’s aunts said they love Miguel and were there to support him.
“He got family support, he’s my baby and I love him,” Huey’s Aunt Hazel said. “I don’t think he did it, personally.”
Police Chief Riley Smoot, who said Walko “was the innocent bystander,” looked around the parking lot at the crowd.
“It’s surprising how many people were here to support him,” Smoot said of Huey. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.”