Three men recently charged in a 2002 Martin County murder case appear in court.
Jerry Stepp, David Jude, and Jimmy Cornette, Junior pleaded not guilty.
The family of Patrick Calvin Blackburn says this is the first step in the fight for justice in court, but at least one suspect claims he is innocent.
One by one, Jerry Stepp, David Jude, and Jimmy Cornette, Jr. stood before the Judge and entered a not guilty plea to murder.
They are accused of killing Patrick Calvin Blackburn in 2002. Harvey Blackburn says he waited more than eight years to see suspects in his brother's death in court.
In June of 2002, Police say Patrick Calvin Blackburn was beaten and then his car pushed over a hill in Trace Fork to make it look like a wreck.
“Mr. Jude strongly indicated to me his innocence in this matter,” Defense Attorney Ned Pillersdorf said.
Jude claims he is wrongly accused.
Defense attorneys for Stepp and Cornette were not available to comment.
The assistant commonwealth's attorney says he cannot comment because it is an ongoing case.
Harvey Blackburn says he plans to fight in court for his brother.
“I'm just here as an advocate for Calvin. Somebody has to speak for him,” Blackburn said.
He hopes a trial will bring answers to his brother's death.
The three suspects are due back in court for a pre-trial conference in November.
Bond for all three suspects remains at $100,000 cash.