Man accused of killing girl, 15, pleads innocent

PORT ANGELES — The man accused of raping and killing a 15-year-old teenager told a judge Friday that he is innocent.

Robert Covarrubias pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of first-degree murder and residential burglary stemming from the Christmas week rape/killing of Melissa Leigh Carter.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge George Wood set trial for May 2, but defense attorney Ralph W. Anderson said it would be six to nine months before he was ready to defend Covarrubias, 24.

Bail continues at $1 million.

Covarrubias remains in protective isolation in the Clallam County jail to separate him from Christopher Carter, Melissa’s father, who was jailed for alleged parole violations.

Due to the lengthy lead-up to the trial, Anderson asked that Covarrubias receive television privileges, reading material and regular showers while he is in isolation.

Inmates in seclusion do not normally receive such privileges.

Wood told Anderson to make his request to jail authorities with concurrence from Clallam County Prosecutor Deb Kelly.

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