Man pleads not guilty to murder, abuse of a corpse

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A man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death in a Texarkana, Ark., apartment and then burying her body in a shallow grave in rural Ogden, Ark., entered pleas of not guilty Wednesday to murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Tony Earl Taylor, 57, appeared before Miller County Circuit Judge Carlton Jones for arraignment Wednesday at the Miller County jail complex. Jones appointed the public defender’s office to represent Taylor and set the case for a pretrial hearing next month.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Taylor allegedly stabbed35-year-old Crystal Reed to death March 6 at the Smith Keys Apartments, attempted to clean the crime scene and then buried the body in a shallow grave on a hunting lease in Ogden, Ark.

Reed’s mother reported her missing March 6 when her daughter failed to report for work and calls to her cell phone went unanswered. The following day Taylor confessed to the killing in an interview with Texarkana, Ark., detectives and led them to the secluded, makeshift grave. Crime scene investigators unearthed an industrial-sized orange trash bag which was later determined to contain human remains. The body was sent for autopsy to the state’s crime lab in Little Rock.

At his initial court appearance in March, Taylor told the judge, “it all happened so fast.” Bail is set at $750,000. Murder is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison. Abuse of a corpse is punishable by three to ten years and a fine up to $10,000. Tampering with physical evidence is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Taylor remains in the Miller County jail.

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