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'It was spiritual' | Accused transit station killer speaks at court hearing

Prosecutors said Montrel Alexander, 21, walked into a crowded bus station and shot a 17-year-old to death Monday.

ST. LOUIS — Montrel Alexander questioned a judge Wednesday who said she believed he was a danger to society.

"I am not a threat to society, I've been followed by people, I've been trying to leave town," the 21-year-old told Judge Calea Stovall-Reid.

She then summarized some of the allegations against him, including how prosecutors said he can be seen on video surveillance footage walking up to Dimari Chapple at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center and shooting him in the head. 5 On Your Side has reviewed the footage, and it shows Chapple sitting between two people when his killer walks up to him and shoots him.

"It was spiritual," Alexander told the judge. 

Stovall-Reid ordered that Alexander continue to be held without bond, noting that he is on suicide watch at the City Justice Center and being seen by a doctor at Barnes Jewish Hospital for depression.

Alexander's mother, Janice Alexander, told the judge her son was taking medication for depression but was "not a violent person."

She said she and her son moved to the 4200 block of Virginia in June, and her son had been robbed multiple times since moving there. On the day in question, she said he was at the station to buy a ticket to leave town and get away from the crime.

"He's no thug," Janice Alexander told the judge. "He's on his meds. He's not violent at all. I never had a problem with Montrel. He's not going to hurt you unless you do something to him."

Assistant Circuit Attorney Jonathan Phipps said police found "no apparent interaction" between her son and the teen he is accused of killing before the shooting. 

"I don't know why you don't consider that a danger to society," Stovall-Reid told her. 

"I can't believe he would do something like that, why would he kill him?" Janice Alexander asked. "Did he do something to him? 

"I just don't understand what led to him doing something like that...I don't know what made him do this."

Janice Alexander said she learned of the allegations against her son after her niece saw his picture on TV following the shooting.

Alexander's attorney noted he had no prior violent convictions on his record and could return to living with his mother should the judge allow him to post a bond.

Phipps told the judge the court documents outlining the allegations against Alexander, "pack a punch."

"He has been accused of some of the most serious charges the state can bring," Phipps said. "He wore a full ski mask and was loitering inside the bus station before the killing. 

"Police were able to track him from the moment he walked in to the moment he was arrested. He admitted to committing the act in question. These are serious, frankly disturbing charges."

Nobody attended the hearing on the victim's behalf. Police sources tell 5 On Your Side he was reported missing from a juvenile detention center in Centreville, Illinois. 

Phipps noted his adoptive mother could not attend the hearing because she was meeting with a funeral director.

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