Lawyer says man accused in teen's 1994 murder 'maintains his innocence'

Ronnie Hyde accused of killing, dismembering 16-year-old boy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ronnie Hyde, the 60-year-old man accused of killing and dismembering a Nassau County teenager 23 years ago, has retained well-known defense attorney Ann Finnell as his lawyer.

Finnell filed the notice of appearance with the court Wednesday.

She said in a statement Thursday that Hyde "steadfastly maintains his innocence" and will plead not guilty to all charges at his arraignment on April 11.

Finnell made a name for herself when she was in the Public Defender’s Office defending Brenton Butler, a teenager wrongly arrested in the murder of a Georgia tourist. He was acquitted at trial and the real killer was subsequently tried and convicted.

A documentary made on the Butler case, entitled “Murder on a Sunday Morning,” won an Academy Award. 

Finnell was also part of Casey Anthony's defense team. News4Jax tried reaching it out Finnell's firm Wednesday evening, but it was after hours. 

Hyde was arrested earlier this month on a murder charge in the death of 16-year-old Fred Laster, who investigators believe Hyde befriended while he was a youth pastor in the 1980s.

Earlier this week, Hyde was also charged with 12 counts of child pornography.