GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A former longshot Idaho gubernatorial candidate on trial in the 1984 killing of a 12-year-old Colorado girl has testified that he did not know the girl or her family before she vanished and denied being involved in her disappearance.

Steve Pankey was a neighbor of Jonelle Matthew and her family in Greeley, Colorado at the time. The girl's remains were found by oil and gas workers in 2019. She had been fatally shot.

Panke testified Thursday. He was charged with Jonelle’s murder last year after showing extreme interest in the case for many years and allegedly sharing details with investigators that had not been made public.

Pankey said in court that he pretended to know information about the case out of bitterness for police and for his former church and former employer, both of which he wanted investigated, KCNC-TV reported.

Most of his testimony was rambling and included comments about his hatred of racist police officers and of being bullied for being bisexual.

Pankey’s lawyer, Anthony Viorst, has argued that his client is obsessed with “true crime” mysteries and has Asperger syndrome, which causes his mind to process information differently and leads him to get “in middle of these things” to prove his own “self importance.”