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Illinois man pleads not guilty in woman’s death in Iowa

February 26, 2021 GMT

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — An Illinois man accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death and leaving her body at an arboretum in Iowa has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Richard L. Forsythe, 21, of Galena, Illinois, entered a written plea in the death of Jennifer Lopez, 20, of East Dubuque, Illinois.

Lopez’s body was found Feb. 1 at the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Police said she had been stabbed 15 times, The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported.

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On the morning of Feb. 1, Forsythe was alone when he wrecked a vehicle registered to Lopez in Bureau County, Illinois.

That afternoon, he had blood on himself and his clothing when he showed up at the Jo Daviess County, Illinois, probation office. Forsythe told a probation officer the body at the arboretum was “Jennifer,” authorities said, and admitted to being in Dubuque recently and having contact with Lopez.

His next court hearing is scheduled for April 12.