A man arrested more than two years after the discovery of his roommate's remains off a popular hiking trail near the Hollywood sign pleaded not guilty Monday in connection with the case.
Gabriel Campos Martinez, 38, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. He is due back in court April 16.
Campos Martinez was arrested earlier this month in San Antonio, about two years after two women walking their dogs reported finding a severed head in a bag near a Griffith Park trail. The body parts discovery touched off a search in the area below the Hollywood sign near the Bronson Canyon Park gates in the 3200 block of Canyon Drive.
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The remains were identified as those 66-year-old Hervey Coronado Medellin, a Los Angeles resident who had been reported missing days earlier. Martinez and Medellin were in a relationship, according to Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace.
Grace was asked about the length of the investigation Monday after Campos Martinez's plea.
"It was a long investigation," Grace said. "(The LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division) did a lot of hard work in terms of putting things together. There was a lot of scientific evidence that came up recently.
"It's safe to say he was always a suspect."
Campos Martinez faces 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.