A man suspected in the death of his estranged girlfriend pleaded not guilty today in federal court to one count of kidnapping.

Michael J. Doyel, 47, entered the plea in U.S. District Court on the charge stemming from the circumstances surrounding the death of Deborah Jones, 50.

In April, Jones' body was found stuffed in a plastic bin in her own car parked outside a Branson, Mo., hotel where Doyel was also staying.

The two had been involved in relationship, but authorities say Jones had recently broke it off. Jones accused Doyel of later following her and harassing her.

Also found with Doyel was West Valley resident Patricia Murray, who authorities say is mentally handicapped. Doyel is charged in 3rd District Court with kidnapping Murray.

In court Friday, Doyel was rather subdued in contrast to his last appearance, in which he was overheard making statements as if he believed Jones remained alive.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda said that his office continues to work with Salt Lake prosecutors on the pending homicide case involving Doyel.


E-mail: [email protected]