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Bush pleads not guilty to charge connected to Brownwood retail clerk's 2012 death

Published On: Apr 02 2013 07:40:39 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 03 2013 08:47:42 AM CDT

Lanny Bush, a suspect in 39-year-old Brownwood retail clerk Michele Reiter's 2012 death, made his first appearance in a Brown County courtroom Tuesday morning.

Bush, 53, pleaded not guilty to the online impersonation charge he faces in connection with the Reiter case.

A trial date has been set for Sept. 30.

Currently, Bush is not charged with Reiter's disappearance or death, but more serious charges could follow. He is accused in a Brown County indictment of creating a phony Facebook profile, using the name Rocky Switzer.

Authorities said he created the profile "with the intent to harm Michele Reiter."

Tuesday, after Bush pleaded not guilty to the online impersonation charge in 35th District Court, Brown County Judge Steve Ellis set his trial date.

Bush was Reiter's boyfriend prior to her disappearance. She was reported missing Sept. 10. Her body was found underneath a bridge between Santa Anna and Valera in Coleman County on Sept. 24.

Tuesday, Judge Ellis posed the question: Will Bush face "more serious" charges?

Prosecutor Sam Moss said he anticipates new charges, but doesn't know if they will come from Brown or Coleman counties.

Crime lab test results are still pending. Moss said the results will determine whether Brown or Coleman counties can file new charges against Bush.

In September, evidence seized from Bush's truck included a blue denim shirt with stains, hair and possible blood.

Bush remains in Brown County Jail, where he awaits a September trial date

He faces identical online impersonation charges in Tom Green County in connection with Reiter's case.

In addition to the Sept. 30 trial date Judge Ellis set for Bush, a May 3 date was set to hear a contested motion to suppress Bush's earlier statements to police.

During an October jailhouse interview with San Angelo’s newspaper, Bush denied any involvement in Reiter's disappearance.