Tashawn Cheatham, the 19-year-old charged with strangling a 13-year-old girl in Phoenix, pleaded not guilty today to charges of murder, arson and theft.
This looks like more of a procedural "not guilty:" Police say Cheatham has already admitted to strangling Briana Naylor with a sheet before setting her home near 12th Street and Camelback Road on fire.
The homeless youth had been invited to stay one night in the home of Naylor's mom, Diana Rope. He claims that in the morning, after Rope had gone to work and Naylor's brothers left the home, he smoked "spice" and Naylor asked him to stop.
Then, according to Cheatham, Naylor said she wanted to die, and asked him to help strangle herself. Helpful guy that he is, he reportedly wrapped a sheet around her neck and pulled until she stopped moving.
Cheatham started a fire in the house and walked to a liquor store, where he told a clerk what had happened.
Firefighters found Naylor unconscious but still breathing in the blazing house. She soon went into full cardiac arrest and died, authorities say.
Cheatham is also suspected of selling the family's dog without their knowledge.
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