Los Angeles

As Drug Dealer Pleads Not Guilty in Fox Exec's Murder, Family Laments “Huge Void in Our Lives”

Family: "Have no doubt, the evidence will clearly show this was a cold blooded, premeditated act of murder"

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misdentified the individuals involved in a relationship linked to the Smith case.We regret the error.

A convicted drug dealer accused of killing a Fox film executive in 2012 pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, officials said.

Following his plea, John Lenzie Creech, 42, is being held on $1 million bail in connection with Gavin Smith's death, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office. The film executive's remains were discovered by hikers in the desert north of Los Angeles in October 2014, following a long search for Smith after he disappeared in May 2012.

Smith's family was in court Thursday, according to a DA spokesman, but asked for privacy as they deal with "the agonizing reality of Gavin's violent death," and said they would "look to God for strength," according to a statement released by the DA's office.

"His death has left a huge void in our lives that will never be filled," the Smith family's statement said. "And have no doubt, the evidence will clearly show this was a cold blooded, premeditated act of murder."

Creech's wife allegedly had a "relationship" with Smith, according to Investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who haven't provided specifics beyond that it began when the two met in drug rehab. This story initially misidentified who was involved in the relationship.

Smith's vehicle was found in a storage unit connected to Creech in February, 2013, linking Creech to Smith's death. Creech was already in custody on drug-related charges when the district attorney filed murder charges against him last month.

Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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