It’s a classic story about a young enlisted man rising through the ranks, earning his bars as a commissioned officer and then getting charged with murder. Well, the latter usually isn’t part of that tale.

But for Marine Corps 1st Lt. Curtis Lee Krueger, a communications officer with Combat Logistics Battalion 7 out of Twentynine Palms, California, that’s exactly what happened.

The 30-year-old Marine officer plead not guilty Wednesday to murdering 54-year-old Henry Stange, a local NBC News affiliate reported.

The investigation into the death of Stange, whose cause of death has been listed as homicidal violence, has been ongoing for the past six months after the Murrieta, California, man’s body was found in June, buried in a shallow grave in Joshua Tree National Park, NBC 4 reported.

Krueger and his girlfriend Nicole Ashlie Stapp were first arrested in August and freed from jail. Naval Criminal Investigative Service aided in the investigation, and Krueger was arrested for the second time on Dec. 13 on Camp Pendleton, California.

Krueger currently is detained at the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, California, and is scheduled for felony settlement conference on January 15 — a possible motive still has not been reported, according to NBC.

He is being held on a $1 million bail.

Krueger enlisted in the Corps in 2005 and earned his commission as a Marine officer in 2015, Lt. Adam Miller, a Marine spokesman, told NBC.

Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.

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