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Trial date set to determine guilt of airman in Mennonite woman's murder case
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Trial date set to determine guilt of airman in Mennonite woman's murder case

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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.

Recently, a report showed that the bullet found in Krause's skull was shot from a .22-caliber rifle that Gooch owned.

Gooch has denied the accusations, and previously told detectives he traveled to the community because he missed the fellowship of Mennonites.

Prosecutors have said he held disdain for the Mennonite community, citing his text messages detectives recovered between his brothers. Gooch was raised in a family of Mennonites, although he did not become one himself.

Samuel Gooch, the airman's brother, pleaded guilty to a separate crime in a case related to Krause's death.

Authorities accused him of taking what he thought was the rifle used in the shooting of Krause in May. He was accused of flying from Wisconsin to Arizona to pick up the gun, which authorities said meant he knowingly hindered a murder prosecution.

Judge Cathleen Brown Nichols sentenced the brother to three years probation earlier this month for facilitation to commit hindering prosecution.

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