A man accused of raping and attempting to murder a four-year-old girl in September pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental deficiency or illness during his arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.

Brandtly Bedsaul entered the pleas to four felony counts before Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins.

The judge, acting on the recommendations of Bedsaul's public defender Jared Holbrook and District Attorney Mike Blonigen, ordered Bedsaul to undergo a mental evaluation at the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston.

The case will proceed after the evaluation, Sullins said.

Bedsaul, who was 19 at the time of his arrest, remains in custody on a $1 million cash bond.

He is charged with attempted murder by strangulation (or attempted first degree murder), which is punishable by up to life in prison without the possibility of parole; first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, punishable by up to 50 years imprisonment; one count of aggravated assault, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment; and one count of aggravated child abuse, punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment.

Bedsaul already was on probation for a previous felony.

Other court records say he had been hospitalized at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute.

The case started the evening of Sept. 28 when police responded to a residence in Casper, according to the police affidavit filed with Natrona County Circuit Court.

People told police they were having a gathering with family members and children. One resident realized a child was missing, called for her but was unable to find her.

He went outside and saw Bedsaul with his hands around the girl’s neck. He was naked from the waist down, and her shirt was pulled up to her neck and she was covered in blood.

She was taken by air ambulance to Denver Children’s Hospital for treatment.

After the arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen said the girl is recovering from her injuries.

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