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Mo. couple pleads not guilty to murder

The Mo. couple accused of videotaping themselves sexually assaulting, torturing and murdering a woman pleaded not guilty to charges in a Kansas City, Mo. court room.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A couple accused of sexually assaulting and torturing a woman on videotape pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges including rape and murder.

Richard D. Davis, 41, and Dena D. Riley, 39, were lead into court in bulletproof vests and shackles, and Riley sobbed throughout the proceedings.

Both were ordered held without bond on charges of murder, assault, kidnapping, rape and sodomy in the death of Marsha Spicer, 41, of Independence.

In a news conference after the arraignment, Jackson County prosecutor Mike Sanders said he expected the pair to face additional charges, which could include other killings. He did not provide details.

Spicer’s body was found May 15, a day after she was believed to have died. Davis and Riley were questioned but released. Authorities later obtained a warrant to search the couple’s home and discovered a videotape they say shows Spicer being beaten, sexually assaulted and choked.

Other cases being investigated
A tape of another woman was also found in the home, authorities said, and the arraignment came amid reports that another body had been found.

An unidentified high-ranking law enforcement officer told The Kansas City Star that police were investigating whether a body found in a rural area of neighboring Clay County is connected to the case.

Neither Davis nor Riley had an attorney Tuesday who could comment for them. During the hearing, one of Riley’s relatives shouted, “We love you Dena,” but declined to comment afterward.

Victim’s daughter: ‘They deserve to die’
Spicer’s family members were so shaken that several who spoke to reporters after the arraignment could not complete their sentences, which were punctuated with sobs.

“They deserve what they did to my mom to happen to them,” said Spicer’s 19-year-old daughter, Betty Jean Spicer. “I know that won’t happen, though, so they deserve to die.”

Davis and Riley, of Independence, were arrested Thursday in southwest Missouri after eight days on the run. Davis’ 5-year-old niece was with the couple when their pickup truck was involved in an accident. The girl’s parents had called police after she went to a restaurant with Davis and Riley and didn’t return.

Authorities have been trying to determine whether the woman seen on the second tape found in the couple’s residence is Michelle Ricci, 36, who has not been seen since April 2. Sanders would not say if the body was Ricci’s or whether the death was connected to Davis and Riley.

Sherry Ballew, Ricci’s mother, has said her daughter and Spicer were friends.