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Trial date set to determine guilt of U.S. Air Force airman in Mennonite woman’s murder case

A gavel sits in the Luke Air Force Base courtroom. (U.S. Air Force/Released)

A Coconino County Superior Court judge has set the murder case of Sasha Krause, a 27-year-old Sunday school teacher, for a trial in August of 2021.

Mark Gooch, the U.S. Air Force airman who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Krause, was in virtual attendance for the Thursday hearing. Attorneys agreed to the August trial date, showing that no plea agreement had been reached at this point. Gooch was originally indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder after he was arrested from Luke Air Force Base in May.

Gooch is being held on a $2 million cash-only bond for first-degree murder.

The airman is now being represented by Flagstaff attorney Bruce Griffin after swapping with former attorney Matthew Springer. Prosecutor Ammon Barker said on Thursday he planned to rely upon “complicated” expert testimony for their case, so the trial is set to last for three weeks.

Krause first disappeared from her Mennonite community outside of Farmington, New Mexico, in January. A camper searching for firewood in the forests near Sunset Crater National Monument, located north of Flagstaff, found her body bound with duct tape in a clearing a month later.

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An autopsy showed that Krause died due to a combination of blunt-force trauma and a gunshot wound. Authorities accused Gooch of committing the murder in this case relying on an assortment of video, receipt and cell phone record evidence. Prosecutors say they can place him in both the Farmington community and the area where the body was found during the time window Krause went missing.

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(c) 2020 The Arizona Daily Sun

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