Judge enters not guilty plea for Stephenson

Accused of killing Aurora woman in March

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. - Charles "Steve" Stephenson appeared in a Dearborn County courtroom in Lawrenceburg Thursday afternoon to answer to charges that he murdered and robbed an Aurora woman in March.

Judge James Humphrey entered a plea of not guilty for Stephenson and refused to set a bail in the case. The judge said he would appoint an attorney for Stephenson some time next week and that a pre-trial hearing will be held on July 2 at 8:30 a.m.

Stephenson, 58, was transported from the Boone County Jail in Burlington to the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center in Lawrenceburg Thursday morning. He appeared in court around 3:30 p.m.

He was being held in Kentucky on charges of evidence tampering and drug trafficking, but those have been put on hold until the completion of the Indiana case.

The Walton man is accused of beating Leigh Jennings to death at her Aspen Ridge Drive home and robbing the home of $1,000 in cash to repay a debt to one of his family members.

He was officially charged with the crimes last week.  Prosecutors allege that Stephenson killed Jennings, 67, with a large pepper grinder and a cast iron skillet.  She sustained multiple skull fractures.

The evidence tampering charge stemmed from Stephenson;'s alleged attempt to clean blood from his car outside his Walton apartment.  The drug count was due to evidence police say they found there while executing a search warrant on the property in April.

Charles Stephenson is also the nephew of Bill and Peggy Stepehnson, the Florence couple murdered in their home last May. That case remains unsolved.

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