Watson man pleads not guilty to niece's murder

By WEEK Producer

September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 19, 2013 at 7:40 PM CDT

EFFINGHAM, Ill. -- Justin DeRyke plead "not guilty" on Thursday to three counts of murder in an Effingham County Courtroom.

Deryke is the Watson, Illinois man accused in the stabbing death of Willow Long, 7, last week.

DeRyke's trial has been set for December, but the state's attorney told reporters that it was "unlikely" the case would go to trial so soon.

State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said the investigation into the circumstances of Willow Long's death are still being investigated and would not speculate if additional charges or additional persons could be involved.

Justin DeRyke remains held under $5 million bond.