- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

BURKE, S.D. (AP) - A former police chief in South Dakota has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2009 death of his fiance.

Defense attorney Clint Sargent says a trial date for 63-year-old Russell Ray Bertram hasn’t been set.

Bertram served as Harrisburg police chief until 2004.

Bertram was indicted for killing 26-year-old Leonila Stickney after officials initially believed she died in an accidental shooting. The Division of Criminal Investigation took over the inquiry as a cold case in 2010.

Sara Rabern, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Marty Jackley, has said the discovery of additional evidence by a cold case investigator led to Bertram’s arrest, but she has declined to provide any details.

If convicted, Bertram faces the death penalty or a mandatory life sentence.

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