Mar 6, 2014 10:51 AM
BOWLING GREEN (AP) - A southern Kentucky man has entered a not guilty plea to the 1998 slaying of his estranged wife in Bowling Green.
The Daily News reported that 44-year-old Leland Neal Jr. entered the plea during a brief court hearing Tuesday. Warren Circuit Judge John Grise set Leland's bond at $1 million upon his indictment and left the bond in place during the hearing.
Neal is charged with killing Carol Neal in November 1998. A grand jury indicted him on Feb. 26. Only part of her skull has been recovered in McCreary County in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
U.S. Marshals caught Neal in Mexico on February on unrelated charges and returned him to Kentucky on a warrant related to the slaying issued in December 2012.
Carol's mother, Barbara Smith, sat in the front row next to Carol's sister Elizabeth McAlister. McAlister and Leland stared coldly at each other until he looked away.
"We are pleased Mr. Neal is back in Warren County and are confident in the judicial process," Carol's family said in a written statement through Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron. The family declined through Cohron to speak to media after the arraignment. They sat quietly in the courtroom.
Along with Smith and McAlister, Carol's other sister, Karen Lasch, her husband, David, and their daughter, Christina Gaines, also sat in the front row. Smith, along with Karen and David Lasch, raised Carol and Leland's two sons, who were not in the courtroom. One son is grown. The other is high school age.
No one in Leland's family showed up for the court hearing.
Information from Daily News
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)