CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An Elkview man accused of stealing a car with a 9-month-old baby inside is set for an April trial.
In Wednesday's arraignment hearing, Christopher Linville, 20, pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and child neglect creating substantial risk of bodily injury.
Charges stem from a January incident where a Charleston mother left her car running to keep her baby warm while she went into a convenience store.
But while she was inside, prosecutors say Linville came out of the store and took her car with the baby inside.
Police found the car with the baby inside in a wooded area on Wertz Avenue, which is off Kanawha Boulevard on Charleston's East End. However, Linville wasn't there.
Officers said the inside of the car was still warm and the baby was returned to his family about an hour after the car was taken.
Police later found Linville hiding at a friend's home half a mile away at Wertz Apartments. He initially was charged with abduction, child neglect creating the substantial risk of injury or death and grand larceny.
Linville told the Daily Mail in January that he didn't know the baby was inside the car when he took it.
"I would like to say sorry to the family," Linville said his appearance in magistrate court. "I mean, it was a bad decision that I had — that I made and I really didn't want to. I didn't know the baby was in the car whenever I had taken the car, but as soon as I noticed the car had a baby in it and everything, I parked it by a house. That way it was close to a house and the family could be able to have their baby back."
His trial is set for April 14 before Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom. His bond is set for $250,000.
Contact writer Andrea Lannom at Andrea.Lannom@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/AndreaLannom.