A former Payson resident charged with killing his roommate, also a former Payson resident, pleaded not guilty to the charge at his brief arraignment Monday morning.
Jody Cline, 20, is being charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the death of Virginia Nicole Hall, who was also 20 years old and went by the name "Niki."
Cline allegedly killed Hall at her Scottsdale apartment by stabbing her numerous times in the neck and torso.
When police officers discovered Hall's body, they found Cline drenched in blood and hiding in a bathtub.
Cline, dressed in a jail jumpsuit, appeared in court through a video conference monitor as Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Eartha K. Washington held arraignments for more than 30 individuals accused of various crimes.
Washington asked Cline to confirm his name and date of birth before accepting the not guilty plea on his behalf.
Because of the charge, Cline cannot be bonded out, and must remain in custody.
Cline will be represented by the Arizona Public Defender's Office.
He is scheduled to have a trial management conference at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5 in room 402 at Mesa City Court.
A trial management conference is used to set dates for other hearings and motions and can also be used to discuss any plea bargains.
-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See related story:
Funeral turnout testament to girl who touched many lives (July 21)