Convicted killer pleads not guilty in Cleveland deaths

CLEVELAND - A convicted murderer has pleaded not guilty in the cold-case slayings of two women who died in a poor area of Cleveland several years apart.

Joseph Harwell was arraigned Thursday on charges of raping and killing Mary Thomas in 1989 and Tondilear Harge in 1996. He was assigned two attorneys and is being held without bond. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Harwell pleaded guilty to killing a woman in Columbus in 1997 and is serving 15 years to life in prison.

Investigators began looking into unsolved slayings on the east side of Cleveland after the decomposing remains of 11 women were found around the home of another man.

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