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Suspect in fatal Cheektowaga beating held without bail

A Cheektowaga man will be staying in jail, at least for a few weeks, after being arraigned on murder charges for allegedly beating a man to death during a fight in May.

Cody Jeffords, 21, kept his head down as defense attorney Brian Parker entered a plea of “not guilty” Thursday morning in Erie County Court.

Jeffords is accused of fatally beating 19-year-old Justin Vanderwalker in an apartment parking lot on Slate Drive in Cheektowaga on May 25. The two were arguing over a woman, authorities said. Vanderwalker collapsed and died three days later at Erie County Medical Center from his injuries. On Thursday, prosecutor John Patrick Feroleto asked that Jeffords be held without bail.

“This crime was committed in front of several witnesses. The defendant was caught at the scene quite literally with the victim’s blood on his hands,” Feroleto told Judge Sheila A. DiTullio.

Parker countered that this was Jeffords’ “first brush with the law, albeit a very serious one” and asked that the judge consider bail. He said there were “psychiatric questions” that needed to be answered and that treatment could be more easily obtained if Jeffords was with his family.

The judge ordered Jeffords to remain in custody pending the results of a psychiatric evaluation.