Man charged in 1996 murder of Kent co-worker pleads not guilty

A Montana man charged in the 1996 cold case murder of a Kirkland woman who worked in Kent pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder Thursday in King County Superior Court in Seattle.

Clifford E. Reed, 59, was extradited Feb. 6 to King County for allegedly killing Sandi Rae Johnson, 28, in April 1996. He remains in the county jail in Seattle on $5 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court March 14 when a trial date could be set or attorneys can ask for more time to prepare the case.

Reed was Johnson's co-worker at Bowen Scarff Ford in Kent during her disappearance. Johnson was reported missing in 1996. Her body was found eight years later near Highway 410 in Pierce County.

Reed left Washington for Montana shortly after Johnson was reported missing, according to court documents. Detectives conducted multiple interviews throughout the investigation and Reed’s friends revealed his alleged infatuation with Johnson.

King County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Reed for investigation of murder in December at his Victor, Mont. home.

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