FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The trial for an Luke Air Force Base airman charged in the kidnapping and death of a Sunday school teacher is set to begin next year.

Airman 1st Class Mark Gooch, assigned to the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, has pleaded not guilty to the shooting death of Sasha Krause, 27. The Mennonite woman disappeared from her church community outside Farmington, New Mexico, in January as she was gathering material for a Sunday school class.

Her body was found more than a month later in a forest clearing outside Flagstaff.

Gooch, who entered active duty in March 2019, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in her death. A three-week trial is scheduled to start in August 2021, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

He is being held at the Coconino County jail in Flagstaff on a $2 million cash-only bond.

Gooch grew up in a Mennonite family in Wisconsin and told authorities he joined the military to escape a difficult, sheltered and restricted life.

Authorities have not said what they believe might have led Gooch to Krause.

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