Joshua Braithwaite pleads not guilty in murder of Lashe Zalar

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KENOSHA -- Joshua Braithwaite pleaded not guilty in a Kenosha County court Thursday morning, August 16th to charges he killed 20-year-old Lashe Zalar. 

Zalar’s body was found at Kenosha’s Nedweski Park after firefighters put out a grass fire there on July 9, 2012. 

The criminal complaint against Braithwaite indicates Zalar’s body was found “nude except for a garment bundled up around her neck and a pair of burned shoes on her feet.” Investigators say she had been sexually assaulted. Her neck was bruised and her throat was slashed. An autopsy showed Zalar died in a fire set on her body with a flammable liquid. 

Officials say Braithwaite's DNA was found on Zalar's body. Braithwaite has been charged with kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Zalar.

Lashe Zalar

Lashe Zalar

During Braithwaite's preliminary hearing on Thursday, a member of the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office took the stand and talked about the condition of Zalar's body as it was found in Nedweski Park. The lead detective in the case also took the stand to talk about what the defendant told police.

The judge hearing the case found probable cause and bound Braithwaite over for trial.

Braithwaite's next court appearance is set for October 17th. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to life in prison.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.

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