Alabama
1:36 pm
Thu July 8, 2004

Teenager Pleads Innocent To Murder Charges

Grant, AL – A teenager has pleaded innocent to capital murder charges in last year's killing of Grant Police Chief Vernon Lemaster. The plea followed a ruling by Marshall County Circuit Judge David Evans that Jerid Eldridge be tried as an adult in the case. That means he could be sentenced to death or life in prison if convicted. Defense attorneys had asked that Eldridge be treated as a youthful offender. He would then have faced a maximum of three years in prison. Eldridge and Brian Butler are charged with killing Lemaster last August as law enforcement officers tried to pick up Butler as a runaway. They were both 17 at the time. Butler has also pleaded innocent by reason of mental defect. Neither Eldridge nor Butler has a trial date set.