The man arrested and charged for strangling 12-year-old Yhoana Arteaga in August pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
Roy D. Coons Jr., 45, lived two doors down from Arteaga in Nashville, Tennessee. While appearing in court before Judge Monte Watkins, Coons kept his answers very brief before finally entering his not guilty plea, reported the Tennessean.
In the case of Arteaga, investigators and medical examiners seemed particularly troubled by the graphic nature in which she was killed.
The 12-year-old girl was beaten, strangled and left partially undressed, which led to a rape kit being performed on the body.
"There is no doubt about that. It was a homicide, a senseless homicide, a brutal murder, yes," Dr. Feng Li told WSMV. "A lot of cases stay in your mind, especially the kids - the infant, the child, the adolescents. These are the tragedies we will remember for a long time.”
Police say Coons, 45, was identified as a suspect after "scientific analysis" of evidence found at the scene. Coons was charged with first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of first-degree felony murder, attempted rape of a child, and especially aggravated burglary.
(Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department)