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Suspect in Arnold Abduction and Murder is Assigned a New Defense Team

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A new team of defense attorneys has been appointed to represent one of two suspects charged in the murder of a Montana high school teacher.

State District Judge Richard Simonton appointed Alfred Avignone, Lisa Banick and Eric Brewer as the public defenders for 23-year-old Michael Keith Spell of Parachute, Colo.

No explanation was given for the replacement of the two attorneys who previously represented Spell.

Spell and 58-year-old Lester Van Waters, Jr. are accused of abducting and killing Sidney teacher Sherry Arnold January 7 while she was on a morning run.

She was missing for more than two months before Waters allegedly led authorities to her body, in a shallow grave in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.

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