Grant Hayes pleaded not guilty Friday to the murder of former girlfriend Laura Jean Ackerson in pretrial motions in a Wake County courtroom.
Hayes is charged with killing Ackerson, of Kinston. Parts of her body were found in a Texas creek in July 2011. That creek was near the home of Hayes' sister-in-law.
Police have said Ackerson was murdered and dismembered in Raleigh. The warrant said police received information that Grant and his wife, Amanda, had documents at their apartment that indicated they "possessed a saw."
Ackerson and Hayes were in a "contentious child custody case," according to a search warrant.
In court Friday, Grant Hayes' habit of singing and talking to himself was discussed, but his defense attorney said "it was just weird," but not incriminating.
Judge Donald Stephens told the attorneys that in jury selection they will conduct questionnaires that will make sure the jurors don't have an opinion in this case.
Authorities had been looking for Travelle Lamar Burros since his step-father was pronounced missing Tuesday, April 15.