Former lifeguard Mark Bridger is "probably responsible" for the death of April Jones, his barrister Brendan Kelly has told Mold Crown Court.
Bridger had earlier pleaded not guilty to the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones, who went missing in mid Wales last year.
The 46-year-old, of Mount Pleasant farmhouse in the village of Ceinws, near Machynlleth, will stand trial later this year.
April was last seen playing out on her bike on Machynlleth's Bryn-y-Gog estate, where she lived, on the evening of October 1. Bridger was arrested the following day, but the search for April's body goes on.
April's parents Coral and Paul Jones were at Mold Crown Court as Bridger, 46, entered not guilty pleas.
The case sparked an outpouring of support for April's family, with hundreds of people joining the search.
April's parents were led into the court before Bridger was brought up. Mrs Jones, wearing a black cardigan, pink T-shirt and black trousers, and Mr Jones, wearing a salmon pink shirt, sat to the side of the dock, just 10ft away from Bridger.
The defendant, with short cropped hair and goatee beard, was then brought in and confirmed his name to the court.
Both parents stared at Bridger as the charges were read to him. Bridger stood, his arms behind his back, and looked forward as he entered not guilty pleas to abducting and murdering April and a further charge of perverting the course of public justice.
At one point Bridger, wearing a navy blue jumper with a pair of spectacles tucked into his collar, appeared to be making an effort to compose himself as he entered his pleas and looked up towards the ceiling as he entered his final not guilty plea.