The man on trial for the murder of his estranged wife in Amherst County has pleaded not guilty and is claiming self defense. 49 year old, Sylvester Matthew Cheatham faces first-degree murder and grand larceny. 41 year old, Arnita Cheatham was found dead at a Madison Heights motel on Aug. 2. The defense says she came to his room seeking money and pulled a gun- and that Sylvester acted only when he was threatened. The prosecution calls the case a calculated homicide carried out in revenge. The trial continues today.