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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- Four men charged in connection to the shooting death of a Rowan County volunteer firefighter made their first appearance in court for upgraded charges Monday.

Khari McClelland and Jaylend Turner now face first-degree murder charges, which carry a possible death sentence. Trammel Devon Hart and Michael Dwayne Teasley are both charged as accessories after the fact to first-degree murder.

The suspects did not directly appear in court, but faced the judge via video camera from jail.

The most talkative of the bunch was Hart, who asked the judge for a reduction in bond. The judge told him he would have to talk to his attorney.

Several of the defendants indicated they wanted to hire their own attorneys during the hearing.

Family members of one defendant did attend, but declined to comment.

The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Marcus Kauffman was shot during an alleged burglary at his house in early December. He died when he was removed from life support last week. His family and friends held a vigil for him Sunday ahead of his Monday burial.

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