National News

Man accused of killing 12-year-old girl enters not guilty plea

Posted October 4

— The man accused of brutally killing a 12-year-old Goodlettsville girl entered a not guilty plea during his first court appearance.

Roy Coons Jr., 45, made a brief appearance in court Wednesday morning. He told the judge he could not afford to hire his own attorney, so he was assigned attorney David Hopkins as his public defender.

Coons is charged with first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of felony first-degree felony murder, attempted rape of a child and especially aggravated burglary.

Coons was arrested last month in connection with the death of his 12-year-old neighbor, Yhoana Arteaga.

Yhoana's body was found in her bedroom at her family's home on Dickerson Pike on Aug. 10. Police said she was beaten, strangled and partially undressed.

Police said Yhoana had just texted her mother an hour before and told her that someone was knocking at the door.

Coons lived two doors down from Yhoana and her family.

Neighbors said Coons had lived there for about a decade and was often seen cutting grass and washing cars.

Coons has been convicted of more than 30 offenses since 1992.

Coons' next court appearance is scheduled for November.

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