Man charged in death of Altria executive pleads not guilty

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A murder trial began Monday for the man charged in connection to the death of an Altria executive who vanished four years ago.

Leyla Namiranian, 41, disappeared on April 4, 2012. She was last seen leaving her job at Altria on West Broad Street in Henrico County that day around 6:30 p.m. She didn’t show up to work the next day and hasn’t been seen since.

After more than three years of investigating what was originally a missing persons case, police determined that Namiranian is dead, although her remains were never found. Police have said that the case is now classified as a no-body homicide.

Namiranian’s ex-boyfriend, 54-year-old Michael Edwards, was arrested in Henrico on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. He was indicted on a first degree murder charge.

In court on Monday, prosecutors revealed new details about the events leading up to Namiranian’s death and their investigation. Edwards pleaded not guilty.

Unsealed search warrants contained information saying that Namiranian was afraid of Edwards. She had told friends he choked her, according to the warrants.

Police said they found blood in the trunk of Edwards’ car. Authorities seized a list of items including duct tape, a bottle of 409 cleaner, Clorox and towels. The documents also showed that Edwards made several inconsistent statements and admitted lying to investigators.

Two cell phones belonging to Namarinian were also recovered, according to police. Authorities have never said where the phones were discovered.

The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday and last through the end of the week.

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