- Associated Press - Friday, June 2, 2017

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - A judge has entered a not guilty plea for a man charged with murder in the slaying of a former northern Indiana city councilman.

Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno also appointed a public defender to represent 22-year-old Cody Garman of Elkhart during the defendant’s initial court appearance Thursday. He scheduled Garman’s trial for Sept. 18.

Garman is accused of fatally beating former 66-yar-old David Swartley of nearby Goshen. Court documents say the two met through an online advertisement for casual encounters. When the two met in person May 25, an argument ensued.

Swartley was a businessman, former teacher, the founder of a Christian youth group and a two-term Goshen city councilman in the 1990s.

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