A man pleaded not guilty Monday to the bloody ax murder of a 27- year-old professional dancer whose body was found in a remote area of Azusa Canyon.
The 27-year-old victim had been missing for almost a week before his body was found over the weekend.
Phillip Von Wade, 20, is charged with the Sept. 5 killing of Rahkeem “Rocky” Reyes and would face up to 26 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Reyes was last seen about 5:40 p.m. Monday. Family friend Ronda Hampton told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that the victim’s car was discovered still running, with his laptop, wallet and other items left inside.
That was in the 1500 block of McWood Street in West Covina, police said.
Reyes’s body was found 2-1/2 miles up Azusa Canyon and reported to authorities at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, said Deputy Mike Barraza of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Von Wade is being held on more than $2 million bail and was ordered to return Oct. 17, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Officials said only that the murder involved an ax, but no further details were available about the condition of the body.
Reyes was identified by his friend as a professional dancer who has worked in several dance videos, movies, commercials and live stage performances.
–Staff and wire reports
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