Updated 12/13/2010 04:51 PM
Man Charged With Killing Woman Leaving NYC Nightclub Pleads Not Guilty
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The sex offender suspected of the murder of a 25-year-old Brooklyn woman entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment Monday in an Orange County, New York court.
Michael Mele was arraigned on charges of murder, manslaughter, and tampering with evidence in the killing of Laura Garza.
He was the last person seen with Garza leaving a Manhattan nightclub in December 2008.
Garza’s remains were discovered in April in Pennsylvania.
The Orange County district attorney says Mele's defense may apply for a forensic study of Garza's body, as long as her family complies.
"The ball is now in their court. The family is aware of this. They're on board with this,” said Orange County District Attorney Frank Phillips. “And it's very difficult for them, but we appreciate that they're cooperating."
Mele is currently being held without bail.
He's scheduled to be released from prison on Christmas Eve for not registering as a sex offender, but according to the district attorney, the state can hold Mele for an additional year.
His attorney had no comment.
If convicted of Garza's murder, Mele faces a possible life sentence.