BETHPAGE, N.Y. - Joshua Hirschel stared at his brother-in-law Wednesday as court officers brought him into the courtroom in handcuffs.

Hirschel had not seen William Walsh Jr. since the Bethpage man was charged with killing Leah Walsh" id="PECLB004374">Leah Walsh -- Walsh's wife and Hirschel's sister.

Throughout the brief court appearance Wednesday, Walsh, 29, kept his head bowed, never making eye contact with his dead wife's family members in the Mineola courtroom.

Judge Edward Maron ruled that Walsh cannot afford a private lawyer and appointed a publicly paid lawyer to represent him.

Walsh said he was not making any money as a stockbroker trainee at a Melville firm because he had not yet passed a licensing exam. He said he has no home and no car. Asked whether he has any savings, Walsh answered, "Not anymore."

Maron assigned Ronald Bekoff to represent Walsh. Bekoff said he hopes to visit Walsh at Nassau County Jail, and will not answer specific questions about the case until afterward.

Walsh strangled Leah Walsh, also 29, faked her disappearance, and dumped her body, police said. The husband confessed to killing his wife, a Glen Cove special education teacher, authorities said.

Bekoff said defending Walsh will be difficult because of all the publicity surrounding the case.

"It will be hard to pick a jury because everyone's going to come in knowing something about the case," he said.

Walsh's next court appearance is set for Nov. 19.