BANGOR, Maine — The Garland man accused of slaying his girlfriend and her two children the weekend before Christmas pleaded not guilty Friday at the Penobscot County Judicial Center to three counts of intentional or knowing murder.

Keith Coleman, 27, was arrested Dec. 21 in Bucksport and charged in connection with the deaths of Christina Sargent, 36; her son, Duwayne Coke, 10; and her daughter, Destiny Sargent, 8.

Their bodies were found around 9 p.m. Dec. 20 by concerned family members in the trailer at 12 Paul Road in Garland, where Coleman lived with Sargent and her children. All three victims were strangled, according to a previously published report.

Relatives of the victims attended the arraignment but declined to speak with reporters.

Coleman’s voice was barely audible in the courtroom. He was dressed in a black suit and shirt.

Superior Court Justice Ann Murray ordered Coleman continue to be held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail. She told Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case, and defense attorneys Martha Harris and Logan Perkins, both of Bangor, that she would set a status conference in a couple of months to discuss a trial date and other issues.

Harris said after Coleman’s first court appearance Dec. 22 that she would ask that her client undergo a psychological evaluation to determine whether he suffers from some form of mental illness. The attorney said Friday that a motion for such an evaluation has not yet been filed.

Coleman confessed to police that he killed his girlfriend in front of the children and then killed them because they witnessed the crime, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by Detective Greg Mitchell of the Maine State Police’s major crimes unit north.

If convicted, Coleman faces between 25 years and life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a defendant convicted on multiple counts of murder may be sentenced to life in prison.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.