Ex-con Murder Suspect Appears in Court

Thursday, January 15th 2009, 1:54 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

EL RENO, Oklahoma -- An ex-convict accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend and her four young children has made his first court appearance in Oklahoma.

Joshua Durcho was brought to the Canadian County Jail in El Reno about 25 miles west of Oklahoma City early this morning.

He was later brought to court in shackles to hear the charges against him -- five counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Summer Rust and the children aged 3 through 7.

El Reno Family MurderedJudge Jack McCurdy II entered a not guilty plea for Durcho and arranged for a public defense attorney to be selected and set a Feb. 25 preliminary hearing date.

The heavily shackled defendant quietly said, "Yes, sir," when the judge asked if he understood the charges.

He's being held without bail.

After the hearing Rust's ex-husband Jason shouted at and scuffled with the children's step-grandfather -- James Franklin -- outside court.

"It's driving a deeper and deeper arrow in our hearts, our loved ones are gone," Franklin said.

The two were arguing over whether Franklin should talk to the media.

"In a case like that, I think, someone deserves the death penalty," Franklin said. "You take five lives; you ought to be willing to get yours taken."

Franklin said emotions are raw and it hurt every time the judge mentioned the victim's names.

A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night near the family's apartment in their remembrance.