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January 7, 2014

Missouri sex offender pleads not guilty in 1986 rape, slaying of North Las Vegas girl

A registered sex offender from Missouri pleaded not guilty in Nevada state court to murder, sex assault with a minor and other charges in the long-unsolved rape and slaying of a 7-year-old North Las Vegas girl.

Jasper Everett Goddard's public defender, Christy Craig, didn't immediately respond Tuesday to messages about Goddard's not guilty pleas Monday in Las Vegas to all charges in the November 1986 death of April Marie Rhodes.

Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney set trial for May 11, 2015. Goddard could face life in prison if he's convicted.

Goddard, 62, was arrested in July in Ozark, Mo., on a murder warrant issued after he was linked to the girl's slaying through DNA evidence collected for a Missouri sex offender registry.

He was returned in custody to Las Vegas, where he was indicted in December on charges also including battery with intent to commit sexual assault and burglary.

Police say Goddard lived in 1986 in a North Las Vegas apartment near the girl's family, and not far from a storage room where the child's body was found.

Investigators believe she was abducted from her bedroom at night, raped and beaten to death with a cinder block.

Police in northern Nevada have said they were also investigating whether Goddard was linked to the unsolved 1990 kidnapping and slaying of 7-year-old Monica DaSilva in Reno. Her bones were found three weeks later in a remote canyon in Storey County.

Reno police didn't immediately respond to messages Tuesday about the DaSilva case.

Records show Goddard was convicted in Missouri in 1990 of sodomy involving an 8-year-old girl and sentenced to five years in prison.

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