Man Pleads Not Guilty in Realtor's Death

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- A convicted sex offender pleaded not guilty Friday to killing a real estate agent who was showing him a rural house for sale, and prosecutors said he confessed to other attacks, including one that put a 69-year-old woman in a coma.

James Hole, 34, of Brookfield, Ill., was ordered to stand trial on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, arson and burglary in the March 18 death of Ann B. Nelson, 71. Hole remains in jail on $1 million bond.

No trial date was immediately set; a pretrial conference was set for April 30.

After Nelson's family reported her missing, deputies tracked her down to a burning, vacant house she had been showing Hole in Oakland, about 50 miles west of Milwaukee.

According to the criminal complaint, Hole told investigators he choked Nelson when he got angry after they started talking about the price of the house. He said he also struck Nelson with a fireplace poker, started a fire and took valuables from her purse, the complaint said.

An autopsy concluded that Nelson had head injuries but died of smoke inhalation.

Hole was released from an Illinois prison in 2006 after serving eight years for sexual assault.

Police said he was interviewed this week and admitted attacking a retired teacher in her La Grange Park, Ill., apartment Jan. 4 and taking $300 from her purse, as well as a similar purse-snatching in June 2007.

La Grange Park Detective Fran Marrocco interviewed Hole about the attack on Mary Elmslie, 69, who was found unconscious in her apartment.

La Grange Park police Chief Dan McCollum said Hole admitted knocking Elmslie down on a concrete floor and taking the money from her purse. He said she was in a coma but has recovered. McCollum said charges will not be filed in the La Grange Park case until the Wisconsin case is finished.

Hole's lawyer, Jeffrey De La Rosa, did not return telephone messages seeking comment from The Associated Press. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that he said he was not present when Hole talked to the La Grange Park detective.

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