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Montana kidnapping suspects plead not guilty

By P. Solomon Banda

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 28 2012 3:47 p.m. MST

SIDNEY, Mont. — Two men suspected in the abduction and apparent killing of Montana teacher Sherry Arnold have pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated kidnapping.

Forty-seven-year old Lester Van Waters Jr. and 22-year-old Michael Keith Spell were arraigned Tuesday in state district court in Arnold's hometown of Sidney, near the North Dakota border.

The 43-year-old math teacher disappeared during a morning run on Jan. 7.

Spell has allegedly told investigators that he grabbed Arnold as she was jogging along a city street and that Waters choked her to death.

State District Judge Katherine Irigoin set separate five-day trials for the men to begin in July.

Despite Spell's alleged efforts to lead authorities to Arnold's grave site her body has been found.

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