The Miller County man accused of killing a 13-year-old in Iberia entered a plea of not guilty.
Steven Neal Henderson appeared in front of Judge Kenneth Hayden in Miller County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Dec. 4 with his attorney where he entered a not guilty plea. He now awaits a jury trial date.
Henderson is charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Macala Shelton. He is being held on a $500,000 bond in the Miller County jail.
Henderson is represented by public defender Keith Halcomb.
Earlier in the year, Henderson and his attorney filed a Protective Order Motion but was denied. The judge ordered all law enforcement agencies to not interrogate Henderson without counsel present.
Macala Shelton was the subject of a Missouri State Highway Patrol endangered person advisory after being reported missing by family members in June.
Officers found Shelton's body in a heavily-wooded area outside of Iberia in southeastern Miller County on Sunday, June 23.
A probable cause statement filed in the case states that when officers took Henderson in for questioning, "a statement was made where he detailed how he stabbed [Shelton] with a large survival knife."
Henderson then allegedly detailed where he disposed of the murder weapon. The weapon was later located at the home where Henderson lived with Macala and her family.
Officers also arrested Henderson's brother and Shelton's stepfather, 33-year-old Jerry Henderson II, also of 102 St. Louis Street. Henderson II was charged with felony unlawful possession of a firearm. A separate probable cause statement indicated that during the death investigation at 102 St. Louis Street, officers located "multiple firearms including a large cache of ammunition in the bedroom belonging to Jerry Henderson II." The statement described Henderson II possessing "several hundred pounds" of ammunition and hundreds of assault rifle magazines.
Henderson II has a past conviction for second degree arson out of Miller County. Henderson II withdrew a plea of not guilty to the charges of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and entered a plea of guilty on Nov. 7. His sentencing is set for Jan. 8, 2014. Bond of $5,000 was posted on Nov. 8.
Macala Shelton was living with her stepfather's family while her mother was deployed with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. The child's parents were divorced. Authorities did not say how long the child's mother had been married to Jerry Henderson II.
Macala's body was discovered at an abandoned farm that was used for hunting. Henderson is believed to have been a caretaker of the property, mowing the grass and handling of other odd jobs for the people who owned the property. The property owners were described as friends of the family.
The 13-year-old had just finished the seventh grade at the Iberia School at the time of her death.