Mesa teen pleads not guilty in mother's killing

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Michael Roy Helms By Jennifer Thomas Michael Roy Helms By Jennifer Thomas
Christian Lee Blakely By Jennifer Thomas Christian Lee Blakely By Jennifer Thomas
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- A 16-year-old Mesa boy accused of killing his mother last month has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Christian Lee Blakely is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, concealment of a dead body and tampering with evidence.

Maricopa County prosecutors plan to try him as an adult.

Mesa police say Blakely's 17-year-old friend, Michael Roy Helms, is also facing charges as an accomplice to the murder of Tina Helms Spencer.

Helms also pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.

The teens' next court date is Dec. 26.

Spencer's body was found Oct. 26 in a backyard shed at the family's property.

Authorities believe the 36-year-old woman was struck with a frying pan and a hammer and also was choked.