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TULSA, Okla. (AP) - One of two brothers accused in the January shooting deaths of four women at a crime-plagued Tulsa apartment complex pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree murder and armed robbery charges.

Special Judge Charles Hogshead entered the plea on behalf of 39-year-old Cedric Poore and set his preliminary hearing for April 2, the same day when his 32-year-old brother James Poore will appear in court. James Poore has also pleaded not guilty.

Cedric Poore appeared at Friday's brief arraignment via closed-circuit television from the Tulsa jail.

The brothers have been held without bond since they were arrested last month in connection with the Jan. 7 killings of 23-year-old twins Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Melchor, 33-year-old Misty Nunley and 55-year-old Julie Jackson.

Both men have prior felony convictions for robbery, according to court records. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether they will seek the death penalty.

Cedric Poore's defense attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday. James Poore's attorney had no comment.

Police say the Poores were staying in the same apartment complex as their four victims, who were discovered bound and shot in the head. Authorities believe the brothers robbed the women, and then killed them because they feared they would be identified.

A 3-year-old boy was found unharmed in the apartment and was taken into protective custody.

The slayings, which investigators think happened during the day, brought attention to the troubled neighborhood and raised concerns about whether residents were afraid to call in crime tips. Police said there were two slayings at the complex last year, and crimes, such as break-ins and shootings, are common.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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