Joshua Knapp, one of three defendants accused of the March 2016 murder of Iolan Shawn Cook, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the crime, and now faces a jury trial.
Knapp’s plea came during his arraignment hearing before Allen County District Judge Daniel Creitz.
Creitz, in turn, scheduled a jury trial for Knapp to begin Nov. 13. The trial is expected to run as long as five days.
Creitz also set an Oct. 11 hearing to hear any pre-trial motions from either Allen County Attorney Jerry Hathaway or from Knapp and his attorney, John A. Boyd.
Knapp faces first-degree murder charges, as well as two charges related to interfering with law enforcement, stemming from Cook’s death on or about March 13, 2016.
At the conclusion of a two-day preliminary hearing in June, Magistrate Judge Tod Davis ruled there was sufficient evidence to bound Knapp, as well as Iolans Rhonda Jackson and James Myers, over for trial.
Cook’s body was found three weeks after his death, along the banks of the Neosho River northwest of Iola.
Creitz scheduled the trial (or trials) for Jackson and Myers to run Nov. 27 through Dec. 6. He also scheduled a hearing for Sept. 19 to consider Hathaway’s motion to try both Knapp and Jackson simultaneously.
Originally, five were charged with first-degree murder in Cook’s death.
Iolan Amber Boeken pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder in connection with Cook’s killing. As part of her plea deal, she has agreed to testify against the other three.
Boeken testified at the preliminary hearing that Knapp stabbed Cook repeatedly in response to a drug deal gone bad, and that she helped dump Cook’s body. She also testified both Jackson and Myers played supporting roles in the killing.
Iolan Jessica Epting, one of the five originally charged with Cook’s murder, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in January of obstruction of justice and interfering with law enforcement. She was sentenced to probation then, although she has subsequently been arrested for attempted second-degree murder in another incident July 21.
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