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Murder suspect enters not guilty plea
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The Dawson County man charged with murder in the shooting death of a local coach has entered a not guilty plea.

Herman James Seppenfield VII's attorney, Richard Stepp, on Monday filed a waiver of formal arraignment and a plea of not guilty on his client's behalf.

By waiving the formal arraignment, Seppenfield was not required to appear before the judge for the preceding.

Tory Jude Miguez, Seppenfield's co-defendant, was also set to be formally arraigned on Monday. His attorney has also filed a waiver and entered a not guilty plea for Miguez, 25, also of Dawsonville.

Additionally, last month attorneys for Miguez filed a motion for immunity from the aggravated assault charges against him, citing Georgia law that states "a person who uses threats or force against another under circumstances in which he is justified...shall be immune from prosecution."

According to court records, Miguez "contends that he was justified in using force against Alan Brandon Weaver" the night of Nov. 22 in southeastern Dawson County.

Weaver died from shots fired at close range by Seppenfield during a fight.

Seppenfield, 50, was charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony crime.

Miguez's charges include possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony crime against another person and two counts of aggravated assault.

The fight reportedly started when Weaver and another man arrived at a home on Whitney Place off Dawson Forest Road to confront the people living there.

Authorities said Weaver's son had been at a birthday party at the home several hours earlier that evening and had called home to say he wanted to leave.

According to Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten, the child felt uncomfortable about something going on at the party.

The confrontation escalated and shots were fired, according to officials.

Weaver was hit twice, once in the chest and once in the side. He died on the scene, a short time after first responders arrived at the home.

According to the January indictment, Miguez used a handgun to strike and cause serious bodily injury to the male that arrived on scene with Weaver.

He was released on $35,000 bond Feb. 2.

Seppenfield has remained in Dawson County Sheriff's custody since his arrest on Dec. 6. His bond has been set at $250,000.