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Colorado Springs man faces murder charges

Prosecutors are claiming a Colorado Springs man broke into an 87-year-old woman's house, strangled her and then transported her body more than five miles to a remote area at the head of a trail, where he set it on fire. The 22-year-old was found with the elderly former church deacon's credit cards when he was arrested two days later, police say.

Prosecutors began presenting their evidence in a pre-trial hearing on Friday. The suspect is being held in El Paso County Jail without bail and faces a charge of murder.

After the hearing, the 4th Judicial District judge ruled that the man be tried on seven counts, including first-degree homicide.

An attorney for the defendant said the man wants to be referred to by the court as Kunta Kinte. The name is from a character in the 1970s TV miniseries, "Roots."

The man's legal representatives unsuccessfully tried last month to have him declared mentally incompetent to face the charges against him.

The Colorado Springs Gazette speculates that the request that the defendant be addressed as Kunta Kinte -- along with defense team comments about colors affecting the world -- might be laying the ground for a defense commonly referred to as an "insanity plea."

At the hearing, police officers said it appeared likely that the woman was killed in her bedroom in a gated south-central Colorado Springs community.

After the killing, detectives believe the woman's body was wrapped in blankets, placed in the trunk of her car and driven to Captain Jack's trailhead, where the body was set ablaze.

The body was afterwards unrecognizable, police said. She was identified by her name stenciled on dentures.

An autopsy determined that she'd been strangled and that bones were fractured in her neck.

Police say they found one of the man's fingerprints in the woman's home.

Source: Colorado Springs Gazette, "Springs man ordered to trial in grisly killing of elderly woman," June 8, 2012

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