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Oregon man charged in girlfriend's 2009 hiking death

HOOD RIVER, Ore. - An Oregon man is accused of murdering his girlfriend by pushing her off a cliff in a case that was initially ruled an accident five years ago, reports CBS affiliate KIRO.

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Stephen Nichols CBS affiliate KOIN

Stephen Nichols, 40, was arrested Thursday, Feb. 12 in connection with the death of his former girlfriend, 23-year-old Rhonda Casto, of Portland, who fell off a cliff to her death in March 2009.

At the time, police thought Casto slipped and fell as she was hiking on the popular Eagle Creek Trail in Portland with Nichols, who she was dating at the time.

KIRO reports an indictment filed in April 2014 ultimately charged Nichols in connection with her death.

He was arrested last week at San Francisco International Airport in California and is being held without bail. If convicted, he reportedly faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

His next court date is scheduled for March 3.

The Hood River County Deputy District Attorney's Office did not immediately return a request for comment on the case.

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