A man accused of beating another man to death in the Dishman Hills Natural Area pleaded not guilty today to one count of first-degree murder.
Roland E. Benton II, 34, appeared in Superior Court via video feed from the jail, where he's been since May 5, nearly a week after Douglas J. Klages, 46, was found beaten to death in a small cave where he camped. Klages' pants pockets were turned inside out, and his cell phone was missing.
A Rosauers receipt found with Klages helped police identify Benton, who had left the store with Klages just hours before the April 30 murder. Benton also reportedly told a friend on the day of the killing that he had done something that would be on “the national news," according to court documents.
Klages' family and friends, including his parents and one of his daughters, attended Benton's arraignment today before Judge Linda Tompkins.
Benton's public defender, Victoria Blumhurst, did not ask for a reduction in bond, which was set at $500,000 during his first court appearance May 6.
His next court appearance is set for June 22.