Suspect in killing pleads not guilty

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A 55-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to strangling a Massachusetts teacher’s aide.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that Jose Melendez entered his plea Wednesday after he was indicted on first-degree murder in the death of Sandra Hehir.

Hehir worked as an instructional assistant in the Worcester school system. The 49-year-old woman was found dead in her apartment Feb. 5.

Police say DNA from the scene matched DNA from an unsolved rape case from 2000 in which Melendez was a suspect.

Melendez, who also is known by the names Segura and Alvarado, faces possible deportation.

He has denied any knowledge of Hehir’s death.

A spokesman for the district attorney says there is still uncertainty over Melendez’s true identity.

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