A New Mexico man accused of kidnapping and killing an 11-year-old girl on Navajo Nation land pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.
Tom Begaye, 27, offered a ride to Ashlynne Mike and her 9-year-old brother and abducted them on Monday because he intended to sexually assault her, according to court documents, NBC News reported.
He was arrested on Tuesday, and he confessed to the killing. After driving the children on a dirt road, Begaye led Ashlynne away from the van and hit her with a tire iron, NBC News reported, citing the criminal complaint.
Begaye was charged with murder, kidnapping, kidnapping of a minor and committing a crime on an Indian reservation, NBC News reported. If convicted, he could face a life sentence in prison.
More Must-Reads From TIME
- Inside the White House Program to Share America's Secrets
- Meet the 2024 Women of the Year
- East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment
- The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap
- Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does
- Column: The New Antisemitism
- The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time
Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com