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SUSPECT IN SLAYING PLEADS NOT GUILTY

Byron Keith Burch is accused of killing south Brooksville's Sarah Davis, 80.

A 39-year-old man accused in the slaying of an 80-year-old woman in her south Brooksville home last month pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder Tuesday.

Authorities say Byron Keith Burch, a career criminal known in the neighborhood as "One-Eyed Jack'' because of damage to his left eye, killed Sarah Davis to steal her jewelry and sell it to buy drugs.

According to reports, Davis' family contacted the Hernando County Sheriff's Office late May 15 when they had not heard from her. Deputies found her body early the next morning in the blood-splattered house on St. Francis Street.

Authorities said Davis had tried to help Burch by allowing him to perform odd jobs around the house. Burch was arrested on May 25.

Burch appeared before Circuit Judge Jack Springstead on Tuesday for an arraignment. He is set to return to court Sept. 3 for a pretrial hearing.

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