A Gary, Ind., couple pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegedly abusing and murdering a 13-year-old boy found buried in a shallow grave under concrete and lime.
Riley Lowell Choate, 39, and Kimberly Leona Kubina, 45, were both charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent and criminal confinement for keeping Choate's son, Christian, in a dog cage secured with seven locks. Kubina was Christian Choate's stepmother.
During a hearing last week, the couple was ordered held without bail. On Tuesday, Choate's attorney, Randy Godshalk, asked Judge Diane Ross Boswell that charges against Choate be dismissed, the Chicago Tribune reports. He said the state can't provide exact dates the alleged abuse and murder occurred.
Godshalk also asked for an independent autopsy on Christian Choate's body. Judge Boswell ordered the body be held by the coroner's office until after a June 14 hearing on the motion.
Christian Choate's body was uncovered earlier this month by Indiana police behind his deceased grandmother's mobile home in Gary. His father admitted to police that he'd wrapped the body of his son in plastic and covered the body with concrete. He denied killing him, however.
For two years, Riley Choate told neighbors and relatives his son had run away. Christian Choate was never officially reported missing, and his biological mother, who was denied custody several years ago, reportedly never knew her son was dead.
The boy's sister, Christina Choate, told her stepsister, Alyssa Nieto, about his death and abuse. Nieto notified adults where the boy was buried.
Christina Choate told Nieto, 18, that she witnessed her brother being beaten for years after her father got custody of them. She said her father kept him in a locked dog cage at night because he kept trying to escape the abuse.