LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A convicted rapist accused of killing a 16-year-old girl he met online pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder Wednesday, several days after authorities found the girl's body in a blue, plastic barrel in western Arkansas.
A judge appointed a public defender to represent Lloyd Jones, 36, in the case of Angela Allen's death. The public defender's office said an attorney hasn't yet been assigned.
He was being held at the Sebastian County jail on $1 million bond.
Allen went missing Feb. 10 after telling a relative she was going for a walk. Her body was found Friday inside the barrel on land owned by Jones' brother near Lavaca, about 15 miles east of Fort Smith.
Authorities said Jones told investigators he picked the teenager up Feb. 10 at a hospital parking lot in Van Buren and took her to the Arkansas River. Court documents allege he told investigators he decided not to take her to his home in nearby Lavaca because "his girlfriends might become upset with him."
According to the documents, Jones said he was making out with Allen, but then "violently pushed her into the water and left her there" after she told him her age.
Sheriff's deputies searching land owned by Jones' brother found a body and identified it as Allen using dental records. A preliminary autopsy showed she died of strangulation and no fluid was in her lungs.
Officers tracked down Jones after finding multiple text messages on the teen's cellphone from his number, a sheriff's investigator wrote in an affidavit. Authorities discovered Jones was convicted of rape in 2001 and found him by tracing his cellphone.
Sheriff's spokesman Maj. Kevin Nickson said Jones was living with his parents, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend and nephew.
One of the girlfriends told investigators that Jones would take his laptop to Starbucks to talk to people through social networking websites.
Jones told authorities he used one site, Mbuzzy.com, to communicate with Allen, who also had an account with that site, sheriff's investigator Anthony Sacco wrote. Court documents allege Jones also told investigators that when he and Allen were at the river, he hit her in the chest and knocked her into the water.
"He thought that (Angela) might have been unable to swim, because her arms might have been injured when she was struck," Sacco wrote.
One of Jones' girlfriends told authorities that his clothes and shoes were covered in mud when he came home that night.