MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Prosecutors plan to seek a grand jury indictment for first-degree murder in the case of a former assistant principal accused of killing a teacher.

Ernest Roberts, 39, entered a not guilty plea Friday during a first appearance hearing.

He’s currently charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kameela Russell, who was reported missing May 15 after failing to pick up her daughter from relatives.

Her body was found days later in a nearby canal.

Kameela Russell (Source: Facebook)

Lawyer Rod Vereen told the Miami Herald that “there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment,” adding that his client is being “tried in the court of public opinion.”

Court records show that 39-year-old Roberts and Russell were longtime friends. Detectives say her blood was found on a box inside his bedroom.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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