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ASHEVILLE — A drifter convicted of gruesome hiker slayings in two states pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he killed two more people on a national forest trail in North Carolina.

Prosecutors say Gary Michael Hilton camped out waiting for victims before he encountered Irene and John Bryant and killed them in October 2007. Hilton made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Asheville on charges of kidnapping, robbery and murder in the deaths of the retired couple. The case is being handled in federal court because the Bryants were killed in a national forest.

Hilton, 65, wore a white Buncombe County jail jumpsuit and said nothing during his brief appearance. One of his attorneys entered his plea for him. A trial date of Sept. 6 was set.

From wire dispatches and staff reports