The teenager accused of murdering Alex Rodda, the 15-year-old whose body was found in Ashley in December, has pleaded not guilty.
Matthew Mason, 19, of Ash Lane in Ollerton near Knutsford, denied the charge of murder during a hearing at Chester Crown Court this morning.
He appeared via video link from HMP Altcourse.
Alex’s partially stripped body was found on Ashley Mill Lane on Friday December 13th on the border between Hale and Ashley.
During this morning’s short hearing, the defendant – wearing a black sweatshirt – spoke to confirm his name and that he could hear proceedings clearly. He entered a plea of not guilty.
A trial, which is expected to last 10 days, is due to be held at the same court on April 20th.
Mason is charged with the murder of Alex, a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, as well as possession of a bladed article in a public place.
Judge Steven Everett, Honorary Recorder of Chester, told the defendant: “Matthew Mason, I am going to adjourn your case now to the same date that was considered on the last occasion for a trial.
“Between now and the trial you have the opportunity to produce a defence statement. In that statement you will set out what your case is about.
“You will remain in custody and will be produced for a trial in this court on April 20.”
Families of both the victim and the accused were sat in the public gallery.
The day after his death in December, Alex’s family paid tribute to a “very loving, caring, kind, loyal and, most of all, trusting young boy”.
His cause of death has not yet been disclosed.