An arraignment is scheduled Thursday for the man accused of killing Tara Grinstead more than 11 years ago.
Ryan Alexander Duke's hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. in Irwin County Superior Court before Judge Melanie Cross.
But an Irwin County court clerk said Duke may not attend Thursday's hearing.
She said Duke's lawyer has asked the judge for permission to enter a plea without the suspect present.
He was arrested in February and faces several charges, including one count of malice murder and two counts of felony murder.
A second man, Bo Dukes, faces several charges for allegedly helping Ryan Duke conceal Grinstead's body.
No trial date has been set for him.