Wilmington Island murder suspect waives preliminary hearing

Crime & Safety

A 16-year-old accused in the murder of a Savannah Police officer and his wife was expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

Instead, Michael Barber remained behind bars as his court-appointed attorney made a short and simple legal statement waiving his presence and reading of his charges.

The hearing was over in less than a minute.

Barber was arrested on two counts of malice murder in the apparent stabbing death of Savannah Police Cpl. Luis Molina, 53, and his sister, Akia Molina, 28.

The Molinas were found dead early Monday morning on Palmetto Bay Cove.

Cpl. Molina was a 12-year Savannah Police veteran most recently assigned to the gang unit. Officers tell News 3 “[there] isn’t an officer in the county who doesn’t feel this loss.”

Another said, “He is the type that was always willing to help. He always walked around with a smile on his face. He was very knowledgeable, professional and loved what he did no matter his position.”

A member of the Savannah Rough Ryders Motorcycle Club, which the Molinas were a part of, called the couple amazing friends.

“If they called you friends, you knew your importance in their hearts. Our hearts ache and we will truly miss them,” they added.

Michael Barber’s case was continued to September 13, the next time he may face a Recorder’s Court Judge.

Because this is a murder case, by law, a bond would only be determined by a Superior Court Judge who may not get his case until sometime next year.

Until then, Barber will be held in the Chatham County Youth Detention Center.

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