Suspect in fmr. Marine's murder claims innocence, held on $2M bail

CAMDEN - December 5, 2013

No less than 15 uniformed sheriff's officers were standing by in courtroom 36 Thursday as 31-year-old Darrell Crone was led in for his arraignment where he pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in connection with Sunday's shooting death of former Marine Cpl. Timothy Loper of Pine Hill.

"We just want to see who tore our hearts out. The guy that shot him was a coward, he's a coward," Timothy Loper Sr., the victim's father, told Action News outside the courtroom.

Dozens of family members were there for the hearing, including Loper's wife.

The 27-year-old father of a 6-year-old daughter had gone to the 20 Horse bar in Camden early Sunday morning to celebrate a friend's birthday. Loper was trying to break up a fight in the parking lot when police say Crone opened fire.

"He is then seen on video brandishing and firing a firearm," Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Christine Shah said.

Crone turned himself into police Wednesday morning after surveillance video of him at the bar was publicized.

Crone, who prosecutors say has a criminal record that put him behind bars for most of his adult life, has told his lawyer he didn't shoot Timothy Loper.

"He's very distraught about it. I think if any of you standing here or me was falsely accused of something this serious you wouldn't be doing too well either, especially since he's sitting in jail," Crone's attorney Scott Cohen said.

On Friday, the Loper family will be sitting in church for Timothy Jr.'s funeral, set for 11 a.m. at Antioch Baptist in Camden.

"I just want it to be memorable, he deserves that," Loper Sr. said.

The judge continued Crone's bail at $2-million cash.

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