DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — 38-year-old Courtney Smith made his first court appearance on Wednesday to answer to the charge of First Degree Murder leveed against him for the killing of Scott Crane.

Crane was found dead from a gunshot wound on August 6. A week later a material witness warrant was issued seeking Smith. He surrendered to Polk County authorities and was charged the next day with Crane’s murder.

Smith made his initial appearance in court from the Polk County Jail on Wednesday morning. If convicted of First Degree Murder he would face a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Crane’s family released this statement after Smith’s arrest:

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to speak for Scott, since he is unable to speak for himself.

Scott was a son, a brother, and a father. He was proud of his children and boasted about them often. Scott was a human being and he was loved. No one deserves to have their life taken from them in such a tragic and violent way.

Our family said goodbye to Scott’s earthly body for the last time this past week, but we will continue to seek justice on his behalf.

We are thankful to all law enforcement agencies who are working tirelessly on this case.  We are appreciative for the outpouring of support from friends, family and the public; and are confident the person involved in Scott’s death will be held accountable for their actions.”

The Family of Scott Crane