Woman accused of killing man as he slept pleads not guilty

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The young woman accused of killing a man as he slept in his Mesa apartment entered a plea of not guilty Monday morning.

Police arrested Judith Elaine Walthers, 20, in February and later booked her on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Kevin Worzalla.

Police say Walthers had been staying with Worzalla, 54. Her DNA was found on bloody items located at the crime scene.

Officers found Worzalla's body after his family requested a welfare check because they had heard from him in more than a week.

"[There was] some blood at the crime scene on some of the items that were used to commit this crime and some of the clothing, sheets, other things like that so we were able to directly tie her to this crime through DNA evidence," Detective Steve Berry with the Mesa Police Department said.

Investigators believe Walthers used a knife and a wrench in the murder.

Walthers hasn't admitted to the crime, but according to court paperwork she tried to recruit a family member as an accomplice.

In addition to the murder count, Walthers also is facing charges of burglary and car theft.

This is not her first brush with the law. Walthers has a history of arrests for a variety of offenses, including assault, shoplifting and driving without a license.

Walthers' sister said she isn't a killer.

"I know my sister, that's all I can say," the woman said.

Walthers is due back in court on April 28 for an initial pretrial conference before Commissioner Virginia Richter.