Umoren, who was a graduate of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), was murdered on April 29 while on a job search.
After an investigation, the police had arrested Akpan who was quoted to have said that he sexually and physically assaulted the deceased.
Akpan was also said to have revealed that he buried the victim in a shallow grave in his father’s house after her death.
The suspect was subsequently taken to court for “murdering” Umoren under the pretext of offering her a job.
According to Punch, at his trial on Thursday, Akpan pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge of murder and rape.
In July, Akpan had pleaded guilty to murder when he was first arraigned before Bennett Illaumoh, a judge who was later transferred from Uyo to the Itu judicial division of Akwa Ibom state.
It is understood that Frank Akpan, his father, and Bassey Anwan Akpan, his sister, respectively pleaded not guilty to the two-count of “accessory” following the allegation that they had harboured Akpan to escape punishment.
Akpan’s plea before Bassey Nkanang, the new trial judge, came as Iniobong Ekpeyong, chairman of Uruan LGA, and Kufre Effiong, his cousin, who are prosecution witnesses in the murder case, gave their “evidence” in court.
After both sides presented their arguments, Nkanang adjourned the case to November 15.
TheCable Lifestyle earlier reported how Chidinma Ojukwu, the prime suspect in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the late CEO of Super TV, similarly made a U-turn and pleaded not guilty after first confessing to killing the deceased.
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