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Not guilty plea in murder case


Wearing a suit and tie but shackled by leg irons, Joseph A. Thomas Jr. pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges alleging he strangled his ex-wife.

The 37-year-old Pullman man and former Nez Perce County deputy sat quietly for much of the hearing, save to acknowledge the rights he has in the case and to plead not guilty to a felony first-degree murder charge that alleges he used a belt to strangle Beth M. Irby-Thomas at her Normal Hill home earlier this year.

Second District Judge John Stegner, of Moscow, Idaho, set a jury trial for Dec. 5.

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