LEOMINSTER, Mass. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man arrested in connection with the death of a Google employee near her mother’s Massachusetts home last summer has been held on $10 million cash bail.
Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, of Worcester, tried to stay out of sight during his arraignment in Leominster District Court.
His lawyer entered not guilty pleas to charges of aggravated assault and battery and assault with attempt to rape in the Aug. 7 death of 27-year-old New York City resident Vanessa Marcotte.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Travers said he requested high bail because Colon-Ortiz is expected to eventually face a murder charge in the killing of Marcotte.
“The commonwealth’s request for $10 million cash bail is supported by an expectation that the defendant will be indicted for murder,” Travers said.
The body of the Google account manager was found in the woods after she didn’t return from a run in Princeton, a small town about 40 miles west of Boston.
A passer-by saw a man prosecutors allege was Ortiz-Colon holding a cellphone and standing next to a dark-colored SUV with its hood up at about 12:45 p.m. the day Marcotte disappeared and near where her body was discovered, Travers said. That witness saw the same vehicle just after 2 p.m.
Colon-Ortiz was a driver for a third-party company that provides trucking services for FedEx, and was familiar with Princeton and surrounding towns, Travers said, although it does not appear he was working at the time Marcotte disappeared. Cellphone records indicate he was in the area.
Colon-Ortiz was also tied to Marcotte’s death through DNA left on the victim’s hands, likely during a struggle with her attacker, prosecutors said.
A state trooper recently spotted a similar SUV with a driver who matched the description of the suspect, Travers said.
The trooper made note of the license plate number and visited Colon-Ortiz’s home, talked to his wife, and left a business card, asking him to call. When Colon-Ortiz didn’t respond, the trooper returned to the home and obtained a voluntary DNA sample, Travers said.
That sample was determined to be a match with the DNA found on Marcotte. The odds of a similar match are 1 in 108.3 quadrillion, Travers said.
Edward Ryan, Colon-Ortiz’s attorney, questioned the way the DNA sample was acquired. His client is not proficient in English and may not have understood what he was being asked.
“We’re going to examine the circumstances under which he surrendered his DNA,” Ryan said.
His client, a married father, has no criminal record, he said.
Ryan reserved the right to seek lower bail at a future date.
Marcotte’s murder was part of a string of female jogger deaths in the summer of 2016, including the killing of 30-year-old Howard Beach runner Katrina Vetrano.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)