A Lansford man was formally arraigned Thursday afternoon in Carbon County court on a charge of criminal homicide.

Ernest Troy Freeby, 34, appeared before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic for the proceeding, which is required by Pennsylvania law for criminal homicide cases.

The brief hearing, which lasted less than 10 minutes, is held so Nanovic, who will eventually try the case, makes sure the defendant understands the charges filed against him, the filing dates for various matters such as requesting copies of information the district attorney has in the prosecution of the case, and the time frame for the filing of any motions by his defense counsel.

Public Defender Paul Levy formally entered a not guilty plea for Freeby. Freeby is also charged with tampering with evidence.

District Attorney Gary F. Dobias said Levy has been provided all evidence gathered by state police in the matter and he is continuing to respond to any request the defense has a legal right to have.

Freeby is charged with the murder of his wife, Edwina Atieno Onyango, 34, whose body has yet to be found.

Freeby only comment during the proceeding was he was confused about the time periods outlined by the court. Nanovic reviewed them briefly and then added that Levy would go into further detail and answer any questions the defendant might have.

After the proceeding Freeby was returned to the county prison where he is being held without bail.

Following the proceeding Dobias said he has not decided yet whether he would seek the death penalty in the case. He has 30 days from yesterday's hearing to make a decision on the matter according to state law.