Leah Freeman Cold Case: Families Collide After Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

Nicholas McGuffin told police that after he didn't find her at Mitchell's house he drove around the small town of Coquille, Ore., in southern Oregon, looking for her, but eventually assumed she got home okay and went home. Leah's mother reported her missing June 29, 2000, kicking off an intensive search for the bubbly girl in between her freshman and sophomore years of high school.
Personal Photo
Leah Freeman Cold Case: Families Collide After Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder
Leah Freeman (Personal Photo)

COQUILLE, Ore. (CBS) When Nick McGuffin pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the 2000 murder of Leah Freeman, his high school sweetheart, it stirred up anger from both of the families involved the case.

PICTURES: Leah Freeman Cold Case Heats Up

Cory Courtright said she was overcome when, after fighting for ten years to get justice for her daughter, she finally got to watch the man accused of her murder enter the courtroom in chains.

"I was staring at the man that's believed to be my daughter's killer," Cory Courtright told The Register-Guard. "I [could] hardly look at him. I nearly fainted."

Nick McGuffin's family was also in the courtroom Tuesday, but what they saw was an innocent man that they feel has been targeted and persecuted since the day Leah went missing. Kathleen McGuffin even confronted a sobbing Courtright in court saying "cry all you want, my son is innocent," according to the paper.

Leah Freeman Cold Case: Families React, Collide After Nicholas McGuffin Pleads Not Guilty to Murder
Leah Freeman with Nicholas McGuffin at his prom. (Personal Photo)

Bruce McGuffin, the father of Nicholas, says their lives were turned upside down by Leah's disappearance and says that it tore his son apart. He says he believes that his son is innocent, according to the paper.

PICTURES: Leah Freeman Cold Case Heats Up

"I would have been the first one who would have turned him in if I knew he did it," Bruce McGuffin told the Register-Guard.

"The last ten years have been hell for [Nick]," Bruce McGuffin said.

Nick McGuffin is currently being held on $2 million bond, a hearing for a bond reduction has been scheduled for Sept. 2.

August 25, 2010 - Leah Freeman Update: Nicholas McGuffin Pleads Not Guilty, Says "I'm Not a Flight Risk"
August 24, 2010 - Leah Freeman Cold Case: High School Sweetheart Nicholas McGuffin Arrested 10 Years After Her Death