Brother pleads not guilty to aiding Arizona murder suspect in Sasha Krause killing

A staff and wire report

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The brother of an Air Force airman charged in the murder of Farmington-area resident Sasha Krause has pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempting to hinder prosecution.

Samuel Gooch entered the plea Monday in Coconino County Superior Court. His next court hearing is scheduled for late July. He is not in custody.

Authorities have accused him of flying to Arizona from Wisconsin in early May to pick up what he thought was the rifle used in the killing. He was arrested in the Phoenix area. 

A grand jury in Coconino County later indicted him on that single felony charge of attempting to hinder prosecution.

Results from Arizona state crime lab testing indicate the bullet recovered from the victim's skull matches a .22-caliber rifle that belonged to the murder suspect, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities said they collected the gun they suspected was used in the crime and substituted a similar rifle for the suspect's brother to seek out.

Not guilty plea in killing

Mark Gooch, the younger brother of Samuel Gooch, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting death of Krause, a 27-year-old who disappeared on Jan. 18 from the Mennonite community where she lived near Farmington. 

Her disappearance led to a large search effort and a reward posted by anonymous donors.

Her remains were found by a camper off a forest road north of Flagstaff on Feb. 24, more than a month after her murder. Her wrists were bound with duct tape and she was face-down in a clearing in the forest, Coconino County Sheriff's Detective Lauren Jones said last month.

Sasha Marie Krause

Cellphone records showed suspect's travels

Authorities used cellphone records to track down their murder suspect, a sheriff's detective said last month.

Authorities say Mark Gooch left his dorm room at Luke Air Force base where he's stationed, and traveled more than 400 miles (643 kilometers) to northwestern New Mexico, where Sasha Krause lived and worked. Jones said that Gooch returned to the base near Phoenix less than a day later. 

In that time, authorities say Gooch kidnapped Krause, fractured her skull and shot her in the back of the head.