Suspect Charged With Killing CPCC Counselor Pleads Not Guilty In Court

The Latest:

Matthew Benner, the man accused of killing CPCC counselor Amanda Strous, pled not guilty on first degree murder charges Thursday in court.  His trial date has not been set at this time.

Original Story:

CHARLOTTE, NC– The man accused of killing a bride-to-be and setting fire to her Southwest Charlotte apartment is being brought back here to face charges.

Tonight we’re hearing the frantic 9-1-1 call that alerted authorities.

Dispatcher: “Do you need police, fire or medic?”
Caller: (heavy breathing)
Dispatcher: “Do you need police?”
Caller: fire

This cryptic 9-1-1 call led police and fire crews to this apartment complex in Steele Creek.

“Kind of shook-up you just wouldn’t expect something like this in this area,” says neighbor Michael Robinson.

Robinson lives nearby and says neighbors told him they could hear screams coming from the burning apartment.

“They heard someone scream and then all of sudden all fire trucks and police officers came to the area,” says Robinson.

Crews pulled 27 year-old Amanda Strous out of her burning apartment. She later died at the hospital.

Nevada sheriff said Matthew Benner confessed to Strous’ killing.

But it was seeing Benners mugshot on TV that startled him.

“It’s weird I run in this area and I ran past the perpetrator before,” says Robinson.

Robinson says he remembers seeing the suspect on numerous occasions.

“He never really spoke. Typically when I run, see somebody I wave say hey, how you doing? He always kept his head down never really spoke that was my impression of him,” says Robinson.

Friends and family gathered to hold a vigil Monday night, in Pennsylvania where she was from. Strous worked as a counselor at Central Piedmont Community and was scheduled to get married next month.