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Suspect in 5 Nevada killings pleads not guilty

YERINGTON, Nev. (AP) – The 25-year-old man accused of five murders during a Mother’s Day weekend killing rampage in northern Nevada has pleaded not guilty a third time after rejecting a plea deal that would have kept prosecutors in the case from pursuing the death penalty.

Jeremiah Bean entered the plea late Monday in state district court in Yerington, where he’s expected to go to trial in January. He’s charged with killing two couples in two homes in rural Fernley and a newspaper deliveryman at an Interstate 80 exit east of Reno near the Mustang Ranch brothel.

Bean’s new court-appointed defense lawyer says the case is more complicated than it appears. His previous public defender recused himself after Bean surprised him in open court in early October by rejecting a plea bargain agreement he thought Bean had agreed to.

In court on Monday, District Judge Bill Rodgers listed off all 19 felony charges Bean is facing, including murder, grand larceny and arson. Bean answered “not guilty” to each.

Bean is accused of the May 10 slayings of 84-year-olds Robert Pape and Dorothy Pape in one Fernley home, and the killings of Angie Duff, 67, and Lester Leiber, 69, at a house around the corner. He also is accused of fatally shooting Eliazar Graham, 52, of Sparks.

Bean, who had been staying two houses away from the Duff-Leiber home, faces the arson charge for allegedly burning the Pape house. Prosecutors say he was trying to destroy evidence of the murder.

The judge set a Dec. 16 trial date but Bean’s lawyer, Richard Davies, indicated he’ll ask for a delay until January.

Davies represented at least two convicted killers currently on Nevada’s death row while serving previously as a Washoe County public defender. One was James Biela, a Reno construction worker who was convicted of raping and murdering 19-year-old Brianna Denison and sexual assault of two other college coeds near the University of Nevada, Reno campus in 2010.

Davies said Monday he’s already pursuing a number of leads in Bean’s defense.

“We feel like we have a really good handle on our defense theory,” Davies told KRNV-TV.

“I think people are going to be surprised when they hear the full story what was going on,” he said Monday. “It’s much more complicated and much more interesting than what they may think.”

Bean was convicted of burglary in January 2011 in Lyon County and granted probation, which records show was revoked in July 2011. He was jailed for about one year and was released last September. His parole expired last December.

He’s being held without bail in the Lyon County jail.

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