Shook calm in first court appearance


GREENEVILLE, TN (WJHL) – A man at the center of a two-week search by federal and local authorities in Southwest Virginia appeared in federal court in Tennessee, just hours after being taken into custody.

Benjamin Shook, 41, had been sought since he disappeared with Surgoinsville teenager Hayleigh Wilson on June 23. The pair was spotted and Shook was taken into federal custody early Tuesday morning in Atkins Virginia, which is in Smyth County.

Federal marshals took Shook to the federal courthouse in Greeneville for a 1:30 p.m. hearing, where he was appointed counsel after telling the judge he could not afford an attorney.

Shook was shackled as he entered the courtroom, still dressed in the same camouflage shirt and dark color shorts he was wearing when he was taken into custody.

When addressing the judge, Shook answered each question calmly. He explained to the judge that he went to the ninth grade before earning a GED. He also said he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when asked.

A detention hearing was waived, so Shook will remain in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 1:30 p.m. Also on that day U.S. attorneys will present a case against Shook to a grand jury.

One of the attorneys appointed to Shook, Rosana Brown, said more information should be known about Shook’s charges next Thursday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Shook faced one count of failing to register as a sex offender.Copyright WJHL 2015. All rights reserved.

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