By KRYSTAL RINER
The girl accused of murdering her younger sister in July plead not guilty in Houston County Superior Court Wednesday.
Carmen Collins entered the courtroom with a solemn look on her face and stood before Judge Katherine Lumsden.
About 10 of Collins’ family members filled the bench seating in support of Collins.
Her mother said, “We love you baby. It’s going to be OK,” as Collins was escorted out of the courtroom after her arraignment.
Collins, 17, has been charged with murder and arson in the death of her 12-year old sister India Collins. The charges stem from an incident in which police said that Carmen shot her sister with a .40 caliber weapon and then used gasoline to start a fire on the interior of the family’s home. Police said Carmen fled the scene immediately, taking the gun and the family poodle with her.
According to a previous press release, Carmen was found in Columbus a few days after the incident driving the 2011 Acura TL that had been reported missing from the Addington Lane home just after the fire.
The autopsy for India Collins ruled the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds.
Public Defender Nick White said on Wednesday that his client maintains her innocence and he feels comfortable with the defense’s case at this point.
Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig said the case will not go to trial this year, but he is hopeful it will be the first part of next year.