By Richard Weizel
MILFORD, Conn. (Reuters) - A Connecticut man and his girlfriend pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder and other charges in the killing of a West Haven man who was shot and blown up with a pipe bomb on July 4.
Christopher Miller, 40, and Natali Martinez-Sanchez, 30, appeared in state Superior Court in Milford, to face charges including murdering Edward Brooks, 39, who police said was a close friend of the couple.
Attorney Donald Cretella Jr., representing Miller, said his client "wasn't involved in the murder."
Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti ordered Miller held on $1.7 million bail. Miller, charged with eight felonies, including murder and conspiracy to commit murder, is also facing federal charges that include possession of an explosive by a convicted felon.
Martinez-Sanchez pleaded not guilty to second-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence. She is being held on $500,000 bond.
Parts of Brooks' bullet-ridden body were found in a Hamden, Connecticut, park wrapped in plastic bags after police responded to a call on July 4 about an explosion, federal officials said. Police found fragments of steel pipe, caps and other explosives' material near the body.
Three other people arrested in the case are due in court later this month.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Paul Simao)