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Man pleads not guilty in Pa. death of ex-employer

August 07, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Scottie Nathan North, charged with criminal homicide in the 2006 death of a former employer, entered a not guilty plea to that and other charges Wednesday during mandatory arraignment in Franklin County Court.

North's case has been scheduled for the November trial term, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said. North appeared before Judge Douglas Herman for arraignment, she said.

A decision on whether to seek the death penalty in the case has not been made, said Krom, something that the prosecution is usually required to do by the time a case reaches mandatory arraignment.

"We filed a petition with the court requesting additional time" to determine if a notice of aggravating circumstances will be filed, Krom said. Herman ordered defense attorney John Abom to file an answer to that petition, she said.

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North, who also is charged with escape, walked away from a work release job in Shippensburg, Pa., on Aug. 2, 2006. He was apprehended by Pennsylvania State Police eight days later following a high speed chase that started in Huntingdon County and ended in Mifflin County.

On Aug. 16, the body of Carl Ryder, 43, of Amberson, Pa., was found along a rural roadside in Huntingdon County, police said. Ryder was a fencing contractor for whom North once worked and had been missing for several days before North's capture.

Ryder died of blunt force trauma, according to autopsy results. Police found Ryder's blood outside his home, in the truck of his car and on an address book belonging to North.

North was driving Ryder's Ford Crown Victoria when a state trooper stopped him on the night of Aug. 10, police said. North gave the trooper Ryder's driver's license and when the trooper remarked that he did not look like Ryder's photo, North claimed he had undergone plastic surgery, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The trooper did not buy that explanation and the pursuit began when North sped off, police said.

Other charges against North include two counts each of burglary, criminal trespass, forgery and access device fraud, four counts of theft, and one count each of false identification to law enforcement, fleeing or eluding police and abuse of a corpse.

Beside the criminal homicide charge, eight of the charges against North are felonies. One of the aggravating circumstances for seeking the death penalty in Pennsylvania is commission of a felony during the course of a murder.

North had been serving a sentence for burglary at the time he failed to report back to the jail from his job, according to court records.

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