CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Nicholas County man charged in the March 2016 death of his wife pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Kanawha County Circuit Court after being indicted earlier this week on a murder charge.

Arthur Woods

Arthur Owen Woods, 40, of Mt. Nebo, was arraigned by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman. A trial date was set for Sept. 4. Woods remains in the South Central Regional Jail without bail.

Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller decided to take the case against Woods straight to the grand jury instead of going the normal arrest route.

“It’s not unusual for us to put the case together and present it to the grand jury,” Miller told MetroNews Friday. “It eliminates the necessity of having a preliminary hearing and the time constraints associated with making an arrest.”

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Chuck Miller

Starina Woods went missing in March 2016. According to investigators at the time, she had voiced concerns about an abusive relationship with her husband. Authorities discovered blood stains at the couple’s home in Charleston. Her body has never been found.

“We’ve tried murder cases in the past without a body if the evidence warrants it. We’re ready to go forward,” Miller said Friday.

Arthur Woods never reported his wife missing or tried to contact her after she disappeared, police said. He told police Starina left for Ecuador.

Woods was charged last year for using his spouse’s debit card until the bank froze the account.

Miller said prosecutors would be ready for the early September trial.

“I don’t see any delays. Certainly there’s no way to predict whether or not there will be delays associated with the defendant or the court or whatever,” he said.

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