CHEYENNE – A man accused of murdering a local woman and dumping her body near Cody had his initial appearance Wednesday morning in Laramie County Circuit Court.

Joseph Underwood, 45, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault, stalking and two counts of applying pressure on the throat or neck. His Park County charges related to disposing of a dead human body have been dropped due to the Laramie County case.

Underwood is accused of murdering Angela Elizondo, 40, of Cheyenne.

At his initial appearance, Underwood was appointed an attorney from the public defender’s office, but when Circuit Judge Thomas Lee asked him if he understood his charges, Underwood said he didn’t understand due to his mental health disability.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in circuit court, and his bond was set at $1 million cash only.

Details of the case aren’t available at this time due to the alleged sexual assault, which means Underwood’s court file is sealed until it gets bound over to Laramie County District Court. At Underwood’s preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if there is probable cause, or enough evidence, to send the case to district court.

If the case reaches district court, it will become unsealed, and details of the case will be made available to the public.

Elizondo’s body was found near Cody by a hunter Nov. 2, and it’s believed she was murdered in Cheyenne before being transported to Cody, according to a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation news release.

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