Man accused of strangling teen, burning her body pleads not guilty Monday

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INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 24, 2014) – The man accused of murdering a Ben Davis High School student pleaded not guilty at his initial hearing Monday.

William Gholston Sr., 46, is charged with murder in the violent death of 15-year-old Dominique Allen. Investigators said she was strangled in late August before her body was burned.

Gholston was connected to the case through DNA evidence, and prosecutors announced charges against him last week. Investigators said DNA found on Allen’s body and discarded sandal were a match for Gholston. His DNA was previously entered in a Department of Corrections database.

An attorney with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office said he feels confident about the DNA evidence in this case.

"The goal is to take a complicated science simplify it so juries can understand it and see how it relates to this case or any case for that matter," said Mark Hollingsworth, Senior Trial Attorney with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

Gholston was at the Marion County Jail on a parole violation when charges were filed in the case. His last known address with the Indiana DOC was on the near west side of Indianapolis, close to the crime scene where Allen's body was discovered at 1108 N. Elder. A witness found her purse and sandals at 1919 W. 10th Street.

Allen's father, sisters and cousins attended Gholston's initial hearing Monday. Some wore t-shirts commemorating their lost loved one.  One shirt had a picture of the smiling teen, followed by the words "Justice for Dominique." Two of her sisters said they couldn't sleep the night before because they were so nervous about seeing the suspect in person.

"It's very important for us to be here, we are her family, we are her sisters and we are going to go through this every step of the way," said Shenika Poindexter, Allen's older sister.

According to court documents, Gholston told police he did not know Allen when detectives showed him a picture of her. He also told police he moved out of Indianapolis during the first week of August but returned in early September to pay bills for his mother.

A pretrial conference was scheduled for Feb. 11 and a jury trial scheduled for Feb. 23.

Gholston is being held without bond.  He has a lengthy criminal history that includes multiple arrests. He was accused in a 2002 murder case that went to trial but was ultimately found not guilty.

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