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UPDATE: Teen pleads not guilty in Missouri stabbing deaths

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | 7:04 p.m. CDT; updated 8:23 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NEVADA, Mo. — A 17-year-old southwest Missouri boy suspected of fatally stabbing two young women pleaded not guilty Tuesday during his first court appearance.

Garrett Matthew Mason appeared in Vernon County Circuit Court on two counts each of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the deaths of 14-year-old Kylie Leyva and 18-year-old Anne Reed. Court records show that he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mason remains in custody at the Vernon County jail on a $2 million bond.

A pretrial hearing was scheduled for June 11. No attorney is listed for Mason in court records.

Vernon County Prosecutor Lynn Ewing III did not return phone calls to The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday. Nevada police declined comment, referring calls to the prosecutor.

Mason was taken into custody Sunday night hours after Leyva and Reed were stabbed at a Nevada apartment where Reed lived. Both teens were flown to Joplin hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.

Two witnesses later told police that one of the young women named Mason as the person who stabbed her and her friend, according to a probable cause statement filed with the court.

Police also spoke with some other witnesses who said Mason had come to their home Sunday with what appeared to be fresh blood on his body and his clothes, according to court records. Those three witnesses told officers that Mason asked them to say that he had been with them for the past several hours, according to court documents.

According to the probable cause statement, Mason changed his clothes and placed them and a backpack in the trunk of his vehicle.

Police later recovered the backpack and clothes.

Investigators have been trying to determine how Mason and the victims knew each other. Mason lived on the same block as Reed in Nevada, about 95 miles south of Kansas City just across the state line from Fort Scott, Kan.

Police have said one of the victims was outside the apartment where the stabbings took place and the other inside when officers arrived.

It is not clear what kind of weapon was used. Police have declined to discuss that part of their investigation.

Authorities also have not released a motive.


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