On Friday, Nov. 19, Thomas Steven Sanders pleaded not guilty at his court hearing in Alexandria, La. to the charges of kidnapping the 12-year-old girl whose remains were found by hunters in the woods near Harrisonburg, Miss.
Sanders, 53, was photographed wearing a bullet-proof vest over his orange jail uniform.
The judge stated the maximum penalty for the kidnapping charge could be life in prison, but that Sanders could face the death penalty if it is determined that the kidnapping led to her death.
After a nation-wide manhunt Sanders was arrested in Mississippi after a waitress called the FBI.
Authorities are continuing to mount evidence on the case in order to determine if the murder is in correlation with the kidnapping.
However, Sanders was caught on video purchasing ammunition that is consistent with the victim’s gunshot wounds.
The victim’s mother Suellen Roberts is still missing, and authorities believe Sanders is also responsible for that.
Sanders was once a resident of Winder, and was prosecuted locally for cruelty to children.
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