A Loomis armored truck worker was shot multiple times and killed near Campus Federal Bank on S. Galvez and Tulane Ave. in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

A month before a May 31 attempt to rob an armored truck left Loomis employee James McBride dead, suspect Jerome Kieffer began renting an apartment overlooking the scene of the crime.

Kieffer then abandoned that apartment shortly after McBride's killing, which he and a friend who allegedly visited him that day are charged with committing.

The details of when Kieffer began renting the apartment and the view it afforded him surfaced during a preliminary hearing in New Orleans federal court Monday.

At the end of the hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles ordered that Kieffer be held without bail until his trial.

Kieffer's co-defendant, Deltoine Scott, is being held on the same conditions.

Both men have pleaded not guilty in federal court, which handles cases involving bank robberies. The two 24-year-old men could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment if they are convicted of murdering McBride, 33.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon said Monday that Kieffer on May 1 began renting an upper-floor apartment in the 2200 block of Tulane Avenue in Mid-City, which overlooked the drive-through area of a Campus Federal Credit Union building.

On May 31, authorities say, Scott used his Louisiana driver's license to check into Kieffer's apartment complex for a visit.

That same day, two men wearing hoods and masks tried to rob Loomis workers McBride and Kearan Dean while they serviced the credit union's drive-through ATMs.

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Jimmy McBride, via the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners

McBride was killed as the would-be robbers and Dean traded gunfire, authorities have said. There has been no indication that any money was taken.

The attackers then escaped in a truck that police found Scott's grandfather driving later that night. The grandfather said his grandson had borrowed the truck earlier that day.

When questioned, the FBI said, Scott lied about visiting Kieffer, who authorities say moved out of the apartment and left Louisiana in the wake of McBride's killing.

Kieffer said he left the apartment because a police raid had made it uncomfortable for him to live there, a federal pretrial services agent testified Monday.

When he was arrested this month, he was apparently back in New Orleans, saying he was splitting time living at his mother's and his father's homes, the agent said.  

The FBI jailed Scott in early June on an allegation that he had lied about his whereabouts on the day McBride was killed. Then, on July 6, both he and Kieffer were charged with McBride's murder.

Kieffer's attorney, David Arena, argued Monday that his client should be given the opportunity to post bail because he has no criminal convictions and has lived in New Orleans his whole life, making him neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk. Scott's attorney, Benny George, made similar points at an earlier hearing for his client.

In both cases, the government countered that the mere possibility of the death penalty was plenty of motivation for either man to flee if allowed to make bail.

Both defendants have received a tentative Aug. 28 trial date, though that date could be postponed.

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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