INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An ex-convict charged with killing a 15-year-old girl whose badly burned body was found in an Indianapolis backyard made his initial court appearance Monday before a gallery filled with the teen's relatives and friends.
A preliminary not guilty plea was entered for 46-year-old William Gholston on the murder charge he faces in Dominique Allen's Aug. 31 death. A Marion County judge granted his request for a public defender to be appointed and ordered Gholston to remain jailed without bond.
The murder charge stems from DNA found on Allen's sandals and body that matched samples from Gholston in the state inmate database, according to authorities.
Some of Allen's family members wore T-shirts to court Monday with her picture and "Justice 4 Dominique" printed on them.
Shenika Poindexter said it was important to seek justice for her younger sister's death.
"We are her family, we are her sisters and we are gonna go through this every step of the way to make sure that whomever is responsible for this gets charged and does their time," Poindexter told reporters after the hearing.
Investigators don't know of any connection between Allen and Gholston, who wasn't a suspect until the DNA tests were completed, officials said.
An autopsy determined that Allen, a Ben Davis High School freshman, died from asphyxiation. A coaxial cable was wrapped around her neck and ankles. Allen was dead before her body was burned in a backyard on the city's near northwest side, authorities said.
Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth declined to comment about whether authorities would seek the death penalty.
Gholston is eligible for the death penalty because he was on parole at the time of the Allen's death after serving a prison sentence for 2006 convictions for illegal gun possession and resisting arrest. Gholston had previously served prison sentences for armed robbery and drug possession, according to Indiana Department of Correction records.