A murder suspect pleaded not guilty Thursday to killing his roommate.
Charles Douglas Yoder, who turned 52 Wednesday, entered his plea through Public Defender Lupita Thompson during a brief hearing Thursday in Effingham County Circuit Court.
Yoder has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the May 7 stabbing death of Ted L. Debany, 52, outside the Effingham home the men shared with Yoder’s sister.
An Effingham County Grand Jury indicted Yoder on murder charges Wednesday, removing the need for a preliminary hearing.
Judge Sherri Tungate set jury selection for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 5, and a pretrial hearing for 11 a.m. June 25. Thompson said her ability to be ready for an August trial would likely depend on how soon she receives discovery information from the state.
Also in court Thursday, Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler told Tungate he was considering turning the case of a bank robbery suspect over to federal authorities.
Altonio Graves, 37, of Florissant, Mo., had been charged with one count of aggravated robbery in connection with the Feb. 26 robbery of Peoples Bank & Trust in Altamont. But Kibler said Thursday he has been told a federal grand jury would indict Graves on similar charges.
Kibler said he planned to discuss possible courses of action with Judge Kimberly Koester, who is presiding over the robbery case. He asked Tungate to set a court date for next week.
“This gives me a chance to speak with Judge Koester in case the federal government doesn’t go through with an indictment,” Kibler said.
Tungate set another hearing for 10 a.m. May 23.
Graves has been jailed in lieu of $500,000 bond since his arrest shortly after the Altamont robbery. He and co-defendant Annalise S. McGhee, 26, of St. Louis, also face similar charges in Madison County.
McGhee likewise remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bond. Her next court hearing is set for 11 a.m. May 23.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.