- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A judge has rejected a defense request to dismiss two aggravated sexual assault counts against an 18-year-old New Jersey man accused of killing his 11-year-old neighbor last summer.

The public defenders representing Andreas Erazo claim prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to a grand jury to support the charges. But state Superior Court Judge David Bauman has ruled that a grand jury could reasonably infer that Abbiegail Smith was sexually assaulted based on the state of her clothing, noting her pants were inside out and her underwear was wrapped around one pant leg and torn.

Erazo also is charged with murder and other counts. He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Smith was reported missing July 12. Her body was found the next morning wrapped in a comforter near the apartment building where both lived in Keansburg.

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