Not guilty plea entered for candidate accused of killing opponentBy Brian Cabell/CNN
CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (CNN) -- Byron (Low Tax) Looper, accused of shooting and killing his state Senate race opponent, remained silent Thursday as his attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf at an arraignment hearing.
State Sen. Tommy Burks, a Democrat running for re-election, was killed while sitting in a pickup truck on a dirt road near his farm on October 19.
Looper, 34, the Putnam County property assessor and a Republican, was Burks' opponent. Burks was expected to win.
During his short appearance in Cumberland County General Sessions Court, Looper smiled and nodded to his family as his attorney, Lionel Barrett, entered the not guilty plea.
No bond was requested for Looper, who remains behind bars. His preliminary hearing is set for November 19th, at which time bond may be requested.
While Looper is now the only candidate on the ballot for the 15th District senate seat, Democratic Party leaders have initiated an aggressive write-in campaign on behalf of Burks' widow, Charlotte.
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