Scott Eby, 38, is already serving time for another sexual assault. Investigators say DNA, physical evidence and a confession given to FBI agents who interviewed him in prison ties him to the murder of Riley Fox. He lived about a mile from the victim's Wilmington home.
Police said Eby planned to burglarize the home when he abducted Riley. Her body was found in a nearby creek.
Riley's mother, Melissa Fox, was at court but did not address reporters.
"It's been so long and we wanted to put a face with this killer. I'm sure she has a lot of thoughts about that's the last face Riley saw," said Kathleen Zellner, Fox Family Attorney. According to published reports, Melissa Fox would like the Eby to get the death penalty or at least life behind bars.
"This case has literally torn at the fabric of this community for the last few years and it's time for the mending process to begin. This is a death penalty eligible case. I have a committee in my office that will be reviewing all the facts and circumstances in aggravation and mitigation and the strength of our case," said Will Co. State's Attorney James Glasgow.
Eby faces five counts of first degree murder and one count of predatory sexual assault in the Riley Fox case. He wore a beige prison jumpsuit and kept his head down during the court hearing. He was soft spoken while responding to the judge's question. His court appointed defender entered the not guilty plea for him.
Riley's father, Kevin, was charged in the murder after making a false confession. He was later cleared of the crime by DNA evidence. He was out of town Thursday, according to his family.
Eby's next court appearance is June 17.