IMPERIAL — The two individuals charged in the death of a 22-year-old Imperial woman in November both pleaded not guilty to multiple counts in Chase County District Court on Tuesday.

Both Kevin S. German, 24, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Keonna N. Carter, 22, of Taylorsville, Utah, are charged with first-degree murder of Annika Swanson. German also has a felony kidnapping charge in connection with the abduction of the 22-year-old.

German and Carter also both have a felony charge of kidnapping. They are accused of holding a second woman captive for three days in a home near Enders.

The next court dates for both Carter and German were not indicated in online court records.

In court documents filed Friday, the first-degree murder charges against both were amended to a Class 1A felony, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The charge was initially a Class 1 felony, which meant each faced the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

In addition, a kidnapping count against Carter was dismissed in relation to the Swanson case.

German and Carter were arrested in Fort Collins, Colorado, in the final week of November. They waived extradition back to Nebraska during early December hearings in Larimer County Court in Fort Collins.

Russell T. Mann, 43, of Enders, who is charged with two counts of being an accessory to felony kidnapping in the case, has a district court appearance scheduled for Feb. 11.

Mann’s bail was reduced from $200,0000 to personal recognizance on Jan. 16. The document filed on that matter also indicated that the state intends to dismiss the charges against Mann without prejudice at his next court hearing. The charges could be reinstated at a later date.

According to court documents, Mann allowed his house to be used to hold the two women.

Authorities found Swanson’s body Nov. 24 at the bottom of an 8-foot-deep irrigation drainage pipe in a rural area near Imperial.

She was last seen at a Wauneta business where she worked. Her father reported her missing on Nov. 21.

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