Man charged with death of Sierah Joughin pleads not guilty

Man charged with death of Sierah Joughin pleads not guilty
James Worley (Source: Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio)
James Worley (Source: Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio)

FULTON COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - The man accused of killing a 20-year-old Fulton County woman who went missing back in July pleaded not guilty Thursday.

James Worley went before a judge at the Fulton County Courthouse, where he was arraigned on 19 counts, including kidnapping, murder and abuse of a corpse.

Worley is charged in connection to the death of Sierah Joughin, who went missing back on July 19 while riding her bike near Evergreen High School in Fulton County. Her body was found three days later in a shallow grave just miles from Worley's home.

Search warrants detail the disturbing evidence found during a search of Worley's property, including that Sierah's blood was found on his motorcycle, and that duct tape was found with both his and Sierah's DNA.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

WTOL 11's Alexandra Montgomery spoke with Mark Berling, James Worley's leading defense attorney – Worley has three in total.

Berling says the next task will be what he calls a "plethora" of motions filed over evidentiary concerns and jury concerns. He also says at this time, he is unsure if there will be additional charges, but he has not seen any evidence yet that there will be.

Berling says he and Worley get along and have developed an important rapport between client and attorney.

"You know I've met with him six or eight hours already out at the facility, so, we're going out again Thursday. So we'll go out about once a week and spend quite a bit of time with him. We'll get to know him and everybody in the case very well," said Berling.

Two pretrial hearings have been scheduled for March 7, 2017 and August 24, 2017.

Worley's trial date is set for Sept. 25, 2017. He is being held at CCNO without bond.

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