(Reuters) - A day laborer pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that he decapitated a Seattle-area mother of three and nurse whose remains were found in a recycling bin, a spokesman for prosecutors said.
A judge at the hearing in King County Superior Court increased bail for the 37-year-old accused killer, John R. Charlton, to $5 million from $2 million, Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the local Prosecutor's Office, said in an email.
Prosecutors had argued in court papers that Charlton, who has been in jail since his April 11 arrest, was a flight risk. They quoted his mother's statement to a detective that her son, a former Idaho resident, had fled that state after previous arrests.
Charlton has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Ingrid Lyne, 40, from Renton in Washington state and with stealing her car. He pleaded not guilty to both charges at Wednesday's hearing, Donohoe said.
"What stands out to us is the lack of evidence connecting Mr. Charlton to these acts," his public defenders, Brian Beattie and Anna Samuel, said in a joint statement. "We ask that the community not jump to conclusions during this tragedy."
Lyne's body parts were discovered on April 9 in the recycling container of a Seattle home. The slaying made national headlines.
Friends told police that Lyne and Charlton, a Seattle resident, had met online and had been seeing each other about a month when she disappeared on April 8.
Investigators, who searched Lyne's house, found swabs of blood and a 15-inch pruning saw in the bathroom.
In an interview with detectives, Charlton said he was too drunk to remember much of what happened after he and Lyne returned to her home after a baseball game, and that Lyne eventually drove him to Seattle, according to court documents.
The judge set the next court hearing in the case for May 11, Donohoe said.
In Idaho, where Charlton previously lived, he pleaded guilty in 2006 to driving under the influence and in 2009 he was arrested for misdemeanor battery, later pleading guilty to that charge as well, according to state court records.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernard Orr)