Thomas pleads not guilty to daughter's murder

Kelsie Thomas has pleaded not to killing her five-year old daughter, Cloe./KTVO

The southeast Iowa mother accused of killing her five-year-old daughter has entered a plea of not guilty.

The plea was filed Thursday morning by the attorney for Kelsie Thomas, 22, of Ottumwa.

Thomas is facing a First-Degree Murder charge in the strangulation death of her daughter Cloe Chandler.

Because she filed a written plea, Thomas won't appear in person on Monday for her scheduled arraignment hearing.

Her attorney, Chief Public Defender Allen Cook, also waived Thomas' right to a speedy trial.

The not guilty plea and the waiver of a speedy trial are fairly routine parts of most criminal defense strategies.

A statement released by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation after Thomas' arrest said that she had admitted to investigators that she had killed the girl.

That statement did not elaborate on what Thomas meant when she said she had killed her daughter.

In court records, investigators said that Thomas claimed her daughter's death was an accident.

In Thomas' original account, her daughter was trying to make swing from pajama pants and and wooden dowel and accidentally hanged herself.

The Iowa State Medical Examiner's office said the autopsy results don't support that version of events.

The next major step in the case is for a judge to set a trial date.

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