A Long Beach man pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges Wednesday after a grand jury's indictment accusing him in the September slaying of Tyrenzo Brown outside a public housing complex in the city.
About a dozen relatives of Brown, who also was from Long Beach, attended the Mineola court arraignment of Antonio Webb, 22, on the day before what would have been the victim's 29th birthday.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Groder told acting state Supreme Court Justice Teresa Corrigan that Webb, a parolee, planned a vigorous defense against the charges. The Mineola attorney also said Webb never fled from Long Beach and police found him at home, a short distance from where the shooting happened. Corrigan set bail at $1 million.
Records show Webb was paroled from prison in April after previously pleading guilty to attempted robbery and a weapon charge after a 2010 arrest.
The deadly Sept. 27 shooting happened on Birch Court in the Channel Park public housing complex, where community members have protested after Brown's death, calling for police intervention and better security.
Brown's mother, Sandra Hodge, 48, said Wednesday it was painful to see her son's alleged killer in court, and that the two families know each other from the neighborhood.
"We're letting the law . . . handle it," she said. "But we're hurting a lot. Every day we suffer."
Family members said Brown worked in construction and had an unborn son and two daughters.
"He'll continue to live on for us as we seek justice for him," said Brown's uncle, James Hodge, 38, chairman of the city's Martin Luther King Center, a community service and education hub.