by John Boyd
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
1:49 PM CST, January 24, 2013
(DODGE CITY, Kan.)
The man accused of killing a three-year-old Dodge City girl made his first appearance in court today. Twenty-eight year-old Brock Cunningham was charged with first degree murder and child abuse for the 2008 death of Natalie Pickle.
Cunningham was taking care of her at the time she died. Police ruled Pickle's death as a homicide at the time, but Cunningham wasn't arrested until this month.
He's out on a $75,000 bond. His next court appearance hasn't yet been scheduled.
During the hearing, the courtroom was packed with his family and friends.
"It's hung over his head for four years now," said Karen Rader, Cunningham's aunt. "It just needs to be done away with and dismissed. He is not guilty. Absolutely not guilty."
His family says the last four years have been tough on the family. They say they were surprised by his arrest and charges. Dodge City police investigators tell us there's no new information in the case. We do know a new county attorney just took over. Natalie Randall won election last year and serves as the new Ford County Attorney. She filed charges just days after taking office.
Cunningham's family members says they're glad Brock can finally prove he didn't do it.
"I hope it gets settled for all of us," said Rader.
The family of Natalie's mother was not in court Thursday. Gary Perry, Natalie's grandfather, says the family knew it would be a brief court hearing.
"We are waiting to see how the court process goes for Natalie's sake," said Perry.
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV