NC man pleads not guilty in killings of 3 women

GASTONIA, NC - GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina man charged with killing three women pleaded not guilty in a case that prosecutors say could carry a death sentence.

The Gaston Gazette reported Tuesday that Danny Robbie Hembree Jr. entered his plea in Gaston County Superior Court.

Hembree is accused of killing 17-year-old Heather Catterton whose body was found near Clover, S.C., in October, and 30-year-old Randi Dean Saldana, whose burned remains were found in November near Blacksburg, S.C.

Investigators say they also have found evidence that Hembree killed Deborah Ratchford in 1992.

Police say Hembree knew all three women.

Defense attorney Rick Beam says gathering evidence and waiting for test results could take up to a year, meaning Hembree likely won't stand trial until 2011.

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