(MOBILE, Ala.) - A man investigators say cut out his own tongue to try and cover up a murder faced a judge and the victim's family today.
Mike Crocker is now charged with the 2007 murder of his Citronelle co-worker and neighbor, Stephen Perret.
Perret's family was in court today for a bond hearing, and four years later their loved one's death still brings pain and anger.
"Every day, this picture has been by my side," says Stephen Perret, Sr., the murder victim's father.
"I was given this little rock that looks like an angel. I carry it every day."
Four years and 4 months, Perret says he's been waiting for the first day in court for the man he says he's been sure killed his son all along.
"It's very hard to be patient. They say 'forgiveness,' that's what Jesus says. Well I'm goin' to hell, because I ain't forgivin' him. You got it?"
Mike Crocker maintained his innocence when he was arrested Tuesday.
Investigators say he mutilated his own tongue 4 years ago. Crocker claims Stephen Perret's real killers didn't want him talking.
The victim's widow says it hasn't been easy for their three young children.
"It's been long and rough." Nikki Perret sobbed outside the courtroom. "Questions... Just trying to understand everything."
Also in the courtroom was the family of the accused.
"We want the same thing that they want. we want the truth and the facts to come out," explained Linda Montgomery, a relative of Mike Crocker's
The suspect's family wants Crocker to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
"Let's not just try this in the media. Let's get it in the courtroom. Let's get the facts out, and if Michael is proven guilty, he has a price to pay," Montgomery said.
The victim's father says no punishment would suffice.
"My son was shot in the back of the head twice with a buckshot. A twelve gauge buckshot. So, does that tell you anything? That's what I want. If they put him on the chair it wouldn't be enough for me," said Perret, Sr.
Thursday, prosecutors told the judge they wanted bond set at $500,000, fearing Crocker would run if let out.
The judge is reviewing the case, and will make a decision Friday morning.