LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A 20-year-old man is suspected of murdering his friend, a dancer who had gone missing in West Covina last week, by using an ax and then dumping his body in Azusa Canyon, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Phillip Von Wade pleaded not guilty to one count of murder at the Pomona Courthouse Monday.
Wade is suspected of using an ax to kill Rahkeem Reyes, a 27-year-old dancer who went missing on Sept. 5 when he headed to West Covina to meet someone about a costume for a dance performance. Wade was arrested on Sept. 8.
Deputy District Attorney Marie Cox said Wade and Reyes were friends, but the family disagreed and said their meeting was strictly business.
Prosecutors said the day Reyes went missing, Wade is suspected of bludgeoning Reyes to death with the ax at a West Covina home.
They also said Wade then dumped Reyes' body in Azusa Canyon, where he was found five days later.
Reyes' family said they want justice.
"I got no words for him. I can't begin to tell him what he's taken from me," said the victim's mother.
Reyes' family pleaded with the public Friday evening, asking for anyone who saw anything to come forward in the hopes that he was still alive.
If convicted as charged, Wade faces a maximum possible sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. He will return to court on Oct. 17 for a preliminary hearing, and his bail was set at more than $2 million.