18-year-old pleads not guilty in 15-year-old's murder

Sidnee Stephens
Sidnee Stephens

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

PINCKNEYVILLE, IL (KFVS) - He accused in the murder of a 15-year-old Pinckneyville girl.  On Wednesday, 18-year-old Carl Dane pleaded not guilty to two counts of first degree murder.

In the court Dane's family members sat behind him. Meanwhile, family and friends of Sidnee Stephens filled the rest of the chairs.

Perry County Sheriff Keith Kellerman walked Dane from the jail to the court house.  Dane wore what appeared to be a bullet proof vest underneath an orange jumpsuit.  Once in court, Dane waived the reading of the charges against him.

According to court records, Dane allegedly shot and choked Stephens back in July.  Days later, fishermen found her body in a rural Perry County creek.

Since Dane is 18 years old he is eligible for the death penalty.  Prosecutors have not announced if they will seek the death penalty.

The judge originally set a November trial date.  But Dane's attorney said he needed more time since the state recently handed over 13 disks of information.  The Dane's trial is now on the January docket.

Before Dane left the court house he received a hug from his mother.

Dane's attorney and Stephens's family both had no comment.

The 18-year-old is currently in the Perry County Jail without bond.

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