Man accused of killing West Allis mother pleads not guilty to murder

CREATED Nov 5, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov 5, 2013

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KENOSHA - The man accused of killing his girlfriend and storing her in the trunk pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Prosecutors charged Matthew McDowell with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.

Police in Cook County, Ill. found the body of Erin Ziemendorf on Oct. 28 in the trunk of a car in a Greyhound bus terminal. Officers say McDowell approached Kenosha police and reported Ziemendorf's death, but denied responsibility.

In a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a medical examiner testified Ziemendorf died of trauma to the neck with a similar amount of force to a car wreck. Dr. Benjamin Soriano, of Cook County, described finding traces of blood around the victim's neck and concluded she was alive before she broke her neck.

McDowell's attorneys declined to call any witnesses.

The judge approved the case for a jury trial. The next court appearance is Dec. 5.