Keith Appling pleads not guilty, denied bond in Detroit slaying

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Former Michigan State University basketball standout Keith Appling was arraigned Thursday on murder and other charges in 36th District Court.

Appling, 29, a Detroit resident, is accused of shooting a 66-year-old relative to death last month at a home in the 13240 block of Whitcomb. Police say Appling shot Clyde Edmonds, whose wife is the first cousin of Appling's mother.

Keith Appling appears remotely for his arraignment on murder and other charges in Detroit's 36th District Court on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

Appling has been charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, and two counts of felony firearm. His attorney, Andrew Abood, asked to waive a formal reading of the case. Only the charges were read.

A not-guilty plea was entered on Appling's behalf. He was ordered not to have any contact with Natalie Brooks Bannister, his girlfriend, who also is charged in the case. Appling was denied bond and remanded to jail. 

Bannister, 28, of Jackson, was arraigned as well Thursday on charges of accessory after the fact and lying to a peace officer;a not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

Natalie Brooks Bannister

Appling's arraignment had been scheduled for 11 a.m. but was held earlier. Wayne County assistant prosecutor William Lawrence logged in at the scheduled time and was told Appling had already been arraigned.

“There was no reason given regarding why the case was called earlier," said Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office. "We are disappointed that this happened.” 

Appling's arraignment was conducted via video from a library but the location was unclear.

Bannister was given a $50,000 personal bond and ordered to wear a tether. She does not have to post the $50,000 bond unless she does not show back up for court dates.

The magistrate ordered that Bannister, the mother of a 5-year-old child, have no contact with Appling.

Lawrence had asked for a higher bond for Bannister, saying before she turned herself in, she was headed to Chicago with luggage.

Bannister is being represented by Frank Manley, the attorney who defended former MSU star and NBA player Mateen Cleaves against rape charges for which he was acquitted.

Manley & Manley firm attorneySara Coaster told the magistrate Bannister was headed to Six Flags with her friend and that friend's children. 

Coaster said during the arraignment that Bannister was "not a willing participant in these allegations." 

Both Appling and Bannister are scheduled for a probable cause conference at 8:30 a.m. June 22 before 36th District Court Judge Roberta Archer. A preliminary examination for Appling is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 29 before Archer.

Police found Edmonds on the front lawn of the home around 7:10 p.m. May 22 with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Appling allegedly fled the scene of the shooting.

Appling allegedly had an argument with Edmonds over a handgun before the man was shot, according to police. Bannister is accused of driving Appling away from the shooting scene and failing to tell police the truth, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

The murder charge against Appling is the latest but most serious legal problem for the former athlete. Appling, the onetime captain and member of the MSU basketball team from 2010-14, pleaded guilty to a drug charge in October in Macomb County after police found heroin in his vehicle during a traffic stop. Appling was sentenced to 18 months probation in November. A warrant was issued for a probation violation on Feb. 16, according to records in Macomb County Circuit Court.

In 2017, Appling pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and resisting and obstructing a Detroit police officer during an unrelated traffic stop on the city's east side. He was ordered to serve a year in jail and five years' probation for that offense. 

As part of a sentencing agreement, two other criminal cases against Appling were dismissed.

Appling was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors in connection with a May 1, 2016, incident at a nightclub on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn.

In that case, police reportedly observed a man, later identified as Appling, pulling a gun out of the trunk of a car in the parking lot of the Pantheion Club on the 12900 block of Michigan.

Named Michigan's Mr. Basketball in 2010 after leading Detroit Pershing to a state championship, Appling appeared in five games for the NBA's Orlando Magic in 2015-16 and played a portion of two seasons in the NBA's Development League.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com