- Associated Press - Monday, October 23, 2017

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - An 18-year-old New Jersey man charged with sexually assaulting and killing his 11-year-old neighbor has pleaded not guilty.

Andreas Erazo entered the plea Monday during a brief court hearing

Erazo is charged in the death of Abbiegail Smith. She was reported missing July 12, and her body was found the next morning wrapped in a comforter near the apartment building where both lived in Keansburg.

Monmouth County prosecutors have said Erazo admitted stabbing the girl and binding her with a computer cord. But a public defender representing him has disputed those claims.

Erazo is charged with murder, felony murder, three counts of aggravated sexual assault and two weapons offenses. He faces a possible sentence of life with no chance for parole if he’s convicted.

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