Man accused of killing college counselor, burning apartment pleads 'not guilty'

Man accused of killing college counselor, burning apartment pleads 'not guilty'
Matthew Benner (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Matthew Benner (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The man accused in the death of a college counselor, whose body was found inside her burning apartment, has entered a "not guilty" plea.

Matthew Benner is accused of killing 27-year-old Amanda Strous in June 2016. Strous was a student counselor at Central Piedmont Community College. She had been employed at CPCC for about six months.

Benner was found sleeping in his truck outside of a motel in Nevada several days after her death, He was charged with murder and first-degree arson.

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Authorities who arrested Benner say he confessed to the crime, but when he faced a judge Thursday morning - he entered a "not guilty" plea.

Benner lived in the same apartment complex as Strous along Toscana Way in Charlotte's Steele Creek area.

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Strous was engaged to be married just weeks before she died.

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