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Alleged Child Killer Headed To Trial

The suspect in the killing last year of a nine-year-old boy is a step closer to standing trial.

Derek Keldon Smith pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Monday after a grand jury indicted him in the murder last May of Kristopher Turner. The grand jury indictment means there will be no preliminary hearing, during which a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.

Madera County prosecutors say they took Smith´s case to the grand jury after the decision to seek the death penalty caused several delays in the scheduling of a preliminary hearing. The 22-year-old Smith has been behind bars since just after the body of boy was found in a culvert under Highway 41 in Oakhurst last May.