INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Police thought Bethany Deaton had committed suicide until her friend Micah Moore confessed weeks later that he had killed her. His attorney later took back that confession, and Thursday he pleaded not guilty.
Deaton was found dead in a van by Longview Lake on Oct. 30. Court records show that Moore originally told police Deaton's husband, Tyler, had told him to kill her. He said Tyler Deaton was in charge of an intimate religious group and there were fears Bethany might reveal being repeatedly sexually abused by the group.
All the members of the group mentioned in court records have ties to the International House of Prayer. IHOP officials have since released statements distancing themselves from Tyler Deaton's smaller religious group.
Moore's attorney said outside of court in November that Moore was confused and distraught, and that his confession was "nonsensical and most importantly untrue."
Moore is free on $250,000 bond. He will be back in court in February.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
FBI Agent Vicki Anderson was with Amanda Berry the day she returned home to live with her sister. In an interview with KSHB Scripps sister station NewsChannel5, Anderson talks about Berry's emotional response to the community support and homecoming.