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Suspect accused in death of Racine Police Officer makes first court appearance

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The man charged with shooting and killing Racine Police Officer John Hetland made his first court appearance Monday afternoon via video conference from jail.

Dalquavis Ward, 26, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and is facing life in prison.

He is accused of shooting and killing Officer Hetland, during an armed robbery of Teezer’s Tavern in Racine on June 17. Officer Hetland was off-duty, but tried to stop Ward and was shot in the chest.

In court, there were about a dozen Racine Police Officers and members of Officer Hetland’s family.

Ward has a lengthy criminal history including domestic violence and armed robbery and had just gotten out of prison four days before the robbery at Teezer’s.

“The defendant was on federal supervision,” Michael Graveley, Kenosha County District Attorney, said. “He had been released from federal custody after a 5-year sentence.”

Ward’s bail was set at $5-million.

“If he’s found guilty, he’s likely never to be out of custody again and so has a high likelihood to flee,” Graveley said.

Investigators say Ward’s DNA was found at Teezer’s. They arrested him Thursday in Milwaukee.

Ward’s family showed up after the hearing and claim he is innocent.

“He’s being framed,” Alicia Garrett, Ward’s Aunt, said. “He really is, and we are going to prove it.”

Ward will be back in court July 17 for his preliminary hearing.

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