November 29, 2023

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A former Raleigh County pharmacist pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murdering her husband while she was operating a ponzi scheme.

Natalie and Michael Cochran

Natalie Cochran, 41, of Daniels, was arraigned on one count of first degree murder during a video hearing in Raleigh County Circuit Court.

Cochran was indicted by a special grand jury in November. The charges allege she killed Michael Cochran, 38, on Feb. 11, 2019.

Natalie Cochran is currently in federal prison at Hazelton in Preston County after her conviction on fraud charges. Cochran was sentenced last March to spend 11 years in federal prison for her role in a scheme involving fake government contracts. She pleaded guilty in September 2020 to wire fraud and money laundering. Michael Cochran owned two shell companies with his wife when he died.

During Wednesday’s arraignment, Raleigh County Circuit Judge Robert Burnside asked Cochran if she had read the indictment against her. She said she had. The judge then asked for her plea.

“Not guilty your honor,” Cochran said.

Burnside set the trial for June 6. The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May 18.

Raleigh County Prosecutor Ben Hatfield said there were no surprises in the arraignment.

“It’s business as usual. That’s what I expect pretty much up until the day of trial. It’s a big case, a capital case, but I expect business as usual up until that point,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield previously told MetroNews the evidence includes an autopsy report…

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