Not guilty plea entered for Kellner

In a 45-second appearance Thursday afternoon, the public defender’s office was assigned to represent Keith Kellner, waived a formal reading of the first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges against him and entered a not guilty plea to those charges.

Prosecutors filed the charges Saturday after Kellner, 47, reportedly shot and killed his wife at the Jefferson Street McDonald’s on Friday night.

Kellner appeared by video Thursday afternoon from the Cole County Jail, along with Assistant Public Defender Christopher Hayes.

He’s been held without bond since his arrest on Dec. 17, and there was no discussion Thursday of setting a bond.

Cole County Associate Circuit Judge Thomas L. Sodergren scheduled Kellner’s preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.

That date would be canceled if the prosecutor’s office wins a grand jury indictment, as has occurred with other recent Cole County murder cases.

Investigators said Kellner and his wife, Pamela M. Kellner, 44, recently separated, and he went to the restaurant Friday night to talk with her.

Pamela — whose funeral was Wednesday — worked part-time at the restaurant, 1918 Jefferson St.

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