A Jamestown woman pleaded not guilty in the murder of an 18-year-old Somali refugee Monday in Southeast District Court in Jamestown.

Twenty-two-year-old Janelle Cave of Jamestown is accused of murder and criminal conspiracy in the April 30 death of Abdi Ali Ahmed. Murder and criminal conspiracy are both Class AA felonies.

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Cave waived her preliminary hearing Monday. Preliminary hearings are held to determine probable cause, meaning reason to believe a crime was committed and reason to believe a defendant committed it.

Judge James Hovey said Cave has the right to either a trial by jury or a trial by the court. Judge Thomas Merrick has been assigned to the trial. A date has not been set.

Ahmed's body was found in a ditch near Spiritwood, N.D., the morning of April 30. Officials said Ahmed died of a blunt force head injury.

Also charged in the murder is Leron "Ra Ra" Howard, 34, Jamestown. He pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing on July 7.

Both Howard and Cave are in custody at the Stutsman County Corrections Center. Each is held on a $450,000 bond.

A Class AA felony is punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment without parole.

Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at kryan-anderson@jamestownsun.com