- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) - A Long Island man who prosecutors say went on a brazen crime spree and “terrorized” gas station and convenience store clerks for more than six months pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and robbery charges.

Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Joshua Golsen-Orelus was fueled by greed in a spree that targeted 10 gas stations since December 2014. The 23-year-old pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder, robbery and other charges during an appearance in the Nassau County Court.

Prosecutors said that in all of the robberies, Golsen-Orelus sported a black hooded sweatshirt and wore a mask as he pointed a gun at the clerks and demanded cash.

They said he sometimes hit the same businesses twice and in one case, turned violent when the clerk did not comply.

Golden-Orelus is charged with fatally shooting gas station clerk Hany Awad, who was working at his brother’s BP gas station in January, when Golsen-Orelus allegedly came in demanding cash. The clerk’s lifeless body was found by a customer minutes after the gunman fled.

“He terrorized 11 victims, and tragically, his greed cost an innocent, hardworking man his life,” Singas said at a news conference Wednesday.

Nassau County Police Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki said it was “one of the most egregious crime sprees in Nassau County’s history.”

Police had initially suspected Golsen-Orelus committed 13 robberies, but Singas said prosecutors could not conclusively connect to some of the incidents.

Prosecutors said they had surveillance video and physical evidence from the crime scenes and Golsen-Orelus made admissions to detectives after he was arrested.

Golsen-Orelus was arrested in June in upstate Utica. Police said an officer had spotted him driving near the scene of the robberies and recorded his license plate number. Police have also said they used a GPS tracking device in the case.

His attorney, Fred Pollack, told a judge his client was not trying to flee, but was instead going to visit his children in Utica. Pollack and several of Golsen-Orelus’ relatives declined to comment after the court appearance.

Golsen-Orelus was held without bail. He would not answer questions from reporters as he was led into the courthouse Wednesday.

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