YORK, Pa. (AP) -- Mayor Charlie Robertson surrendered Thursday on charges of murder in the 1969 shooting death of a black woman during race riots. An affidavit quotes a co-defendant as saying Robertson gave him the ammunition he used to fire at her car and told him to kill blacks.
Reporters and photographers swarmed around Robertson as he arrived at the office of District Justice Barbara Nixon for his arraignment.
The arraignment proceeding was brief, and Nixon set May 25 as a tentative date for Robertson's preliminary hearing. He was taken to the York County Courthouse for an expected bail hearing.
An affidavit was filed in conjunction with the mayor's arraignment. In it, Rick Lynn Knouse, one of five other men charged in the case, told a grand jury that Robertson, a city policeman at the time, gave him ammunition for his 30.06 hunting rifle and instructed him to "kill as many niggers as you can."
Knouse said he used the ammunition that Robertson provided to fire on the car in which the black victim, Lillie Belle Allen, was riding when she was killed, according to the affidavit.
Robertson, accompanied by his lawyer Richard Oare and city Police Commissioner Herbert Groscsik, said as he arrived at Nixon's office that he "absolutely" maintains his innocence. He has admitted in the past only that he said "white power" during the riots.
Just Tuesday, the two-term mayor defeated City Councilman Ray Crenshaw, the first black to run for mayor in city history, in a close Democratic primary.
Prosecutor Tom Kelley had declined to comment Wednesday on Robertson's statement that he expected to be charged, citing a gag order. Robertson's attorney has said the mayor is being politically targeted.
Allen was one of two people killed during the riots. No charges had been filed in either case until last month.
Robertson, 67, has admitted yelling "white power" at a rally the night before Allen was killed, but he has denied involvement in her death.
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