Man pleads not guilty to killing officer after he reportedly refused to wear mask at basketball game in February

Published 7:58 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A New Orleans man accused of killing a university police officer outside a high school basketball game has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.

A New Orleans judge is considering whether to reduce the $100,000 bond set for John Shallerhorn, 35, who entered the plea remotely on Monday to murder and armed robbery charges, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Shallerhorn, currently held in a mental health facility, is accused of killing Tulane University officer Martinus Mitchum after reportedly refusing to wear a face mask to get into the gymnasium on Feb. 26.

Public defender Mariah Holder, said Monday that Shallerhorn’s mental health has improved greatly on medication, and asked Judge Angel Harris to set a low bond. The judge said she would put off a decision until Wednesday.

Mitchum, 38, who also was a reserve constable in 2nd City Court, was doing off-duty security work at George Washington Carver High School in the Desire area.

Shallerhorn was stopped at the door. As Mitchum escorted him out, authorities said, Shallerhorn fired two shots in his direction, killing the 38-year-old officer.

A grand jury indicted Shallerhorn this month. His attorneys have said that he has a long history of mental illness and hospitalization, though they did not mention an insanity defense at his arraignment Monday.

District Attorney Jason Williams’ office has indicated it will not seek the death penalty against Shallerhorn, leaving life in prison as the only possible sentence if he is convicted.