Natalie Cochran arraigned in court on first-degree murder charge

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Natalie Cochran appeared in court for the first time since she was indicted on first-degree murder in connection with the death of her husband

Cochran appeared virtually in Raleigh County Circuit Court Wednesday, January 5, 2022 for the first time since being indicted on a first-degree murder. Cochran is currently serving an 11 year sentence for conducting a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme from June 2017 through at least August 2019.

She was indicted on November 19, 2020 on a special session of the grand jury following a years-long investigation into the death of her husband, Michael Cochran. Michael died suddenly in February of 2019 from an unknown cause. 

“With regard to any case, once a decision is made to indict someone and once an indictment has been obtained it’s always important that we look for some finality and some closure,” said Raleigh County Prosecutor Benjamin Hatfield

Cochran appeared in court via video conference from FCI Hazleton where she is currently incarcerated, entering her plea to the charge. Our cameras were unable to film her due to security purposes within the prison.

“Are you ready to offer a plea in response to the indictment?” Judge Burnside said.

“I’m not guilty, your honor,” Cochran replied.

“A plea of not guilty has been received,” Judge Burnside announced to the court.

Cochran is represented by Matthew Victor who declined to comment. Raleigh County Prosecutor Benjamin Hatfield said the court proceedings are moving as usual until the trial begins. 

“Today [Wednesday] was business as usual and that’s what I expect up until the day of the trial,” Hatfield added “It’s a big case, it’s a capital case, as any capital cases are. But, I expect business as usual until that point.” 

Pre-trial hearings are set to start on May 18th with the trial starting shortly after.  If convicted, Cochran faces up to life in prison.  Cochran is expected to appear in court in person for the trial. 

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