CBSN

'Legally Dead' Man Pleads Not Guilty To Killing

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - A Las Vegas man who was declared dead about 17 years ago has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and killing a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in October in Louisiana.

Fifty-three-year-old Thomas Stevens Sanders entered the plea Friday. He is accused of kidnapping and killing Lexis Roberts. If convicted of either charge, who could face the death penalty.

He is accused of bringing Lexis from Arizona to Louisiana and shooting her with a .22-caliber rifle.

Lexis and her mother, 31-year-old Suellen Roberts, reportedly traveled with Sanders over the Labor Day weekend. Sanders is also suspected in the death of Suellen Roberts.

Sanders was declared legally dead in Mississippi in 1994.