NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Michael Mele wore a suit and shackles to court.
The convicted sex offender is accused of killing Laura Garza, 25, of Brooklyn.
Garza was last seen leaving the Manhattan nightclub “Marquee” with Mele in December of 2008.
Police say they drove to Orange County where they were spotted near Mele’s apartment in Wallkill.
Garza’s remains were found a year and a half later in a rural area outside Scranton, Penn. The cause of her death has not been disclosed. DNA tests confirmed her identity.
Mele is charged with murder, manslaughter and evidence tampering. He faces 25 years to life if convicted.
Mele has several sex-offense convictions in New York, most involving approaching women while masturbating. He was wanted in New Jersey for similar crimes.
Mele has pleaded not guilty.
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