WOOSTER, Ohio — An Ohio man has pleaded not guilty in the rape and strangulation of a 9-year-old girl found dead in a trash bin at the trailer park where they were neighbors.
A court-appointed attorney entered the pleas Thursday for Jerrod Metsker in Wayne County court in Wooster.
A grand jury had indicted the 24-year-old Metsker on charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape.
Authorities say he was the last person seen with 9-year-old Reann Murphy at their trailer park in Smithville, southwest of Akron. A caller identifying himself as Metsker reported Reann missing in a 911 call.
Her body was found Dec. 15. Metsker was arrested later that day.
Authorities previously said the death penalty would be available as punishment if Metsker was convicted of murder.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)