A Kentucky mother wept loudly Monday as the suspect in her seven-year-old daughter'sgruesome rape and murder pleaded not guilty in a courtroom packed with emotion.
Timothy Madden, 38, made his first court appearance in Barren County as police said his DNA had been found on the battered body of Gabriella "Gabby" Doolin.
He pleaded not guilty to counts of kidnapping, rape, sodomy and murder.
The little girl had been missing for only 25 minutes when searchers found her body November 14 in a wooded area near the Allen County Scottsville High School, where her brother had been playing in a youth football game.
As Madden was led into the courtroom Monday afternoon with his arms and legs shackled, Gabby’s mother, Amy Doolin, held her hand over her mouth and sobbed uncontrollably as Madden was seated at the defense table. Other family members were also in tears.
Madden, a construction worker with five children of his own, sat quietly as the charges against him were read aloud by Allen County District Court Judge Martha Harrison.
She choked up while announcing the defendant "did commit the offense of kidnapping by unlawfully restraining Gabriella Doolin, a child under the age of 12," according to WKYT-TV.
The judge told Madden he was eligible for the death penalty. She set an all-cash bail of $1 million.
Police said DNA evidence taken from Madden matched samples taken from the girl's body.
Authorities said Madden acknowledged he was at the game, but denied having anything to do with Gabby's death.
Outside court, defense attorney Travis Lock told reporters, "It is very early in this process for us to discuss what the evidence may or may not be in this case.”
"Simply put, we do not know what the evidence is that the commonwealth believes they have," Lock said, according to the Associated Press.
Madden's mother-in-law said he was a good man and a good father, and would never harm a child.
"There's no way this man could have done this vicious whatever because he's not that kind of person," said Linda King, according to the AP. "He loves his kids, he loves his family. He would do anything for anybody that asked him."
Police have said Gabby died from drowning and being choked.
King said Madden had been videotaping the game and came home without a mark.
"His clothes weren't messed up. They weren't wet,” she said.