LA CROSSE, Wis. -

The Grant County man charged with stealing a car with a man in the trunk and leading La Crosse police on a high speed chase stands mute in court Wednesday afternoon.

A La Crosse County judge entered not guilty pleas on 25-year-old Timmy Johnson Jr.'s behalf.

The police report stated Johnson crashed the stolen car just south of Holmen. In the trunk, police found the body of 79-year-old Merle Forbes.

A preliminary autopsy shows assault to be the cause of death.

Johnson's defense says a plea deal is in the works. He has not been charged with a homicide.

Johnson’s next court appearance is September 4.