LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A judge set bond at $750,000 and put travel restrictions on an Arizona man arrested in the 23-year-old slaying of a competing furniture salesman, whose widow and other relatives were in the courtroom Wednesday.
Perone pleaded not guilty. Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda ordered that Sam Perone, 67, surrender his passport and be monitored electronically, among other conditions, if he were able to post bond.
Perone waived extradition after his arrest last week at his home in Phoenix.
Warren County authorities announced last week that Perone had been indicted on a murder count in the shooting death of Richard Woods, 41, Columbus-area furniture salesman and father of four who was last seen alive Oct. 8, 1992.
Perone's attorney, Rob Kaufman, said Perone didn't do it.
"Sam Perone has consistently, steadfastly denied any involvement with Dick Woods' death from the very beginning," Kaufman said.
Woods' widow, Sue Schneier, who has remarried, was in the courtroom with other family members for Perone's court appearance.
"I'm just taken aback by how he looked around at all of us," she told WKRC-TV. "And he had to know who we were ... and just not even any emotion."
The judge also ordered Perone to have no contact with Woods' family. Oda set a pretrial hearing for Oct. 28.
Investigators have described Woods as a popular, successful salesman. They didn't discuss a motive in the case but said Woods' last business stop was Perone's Just Living Rooms furniture store in Lebanon and they were competitors.
Authorities say they believe Woods was shot in the head in the back of Perone's furniture store. His body was found in a wooded area a month later.
Prosecutor David Fornshell has said it's a challenging case. Authorities indicated that cold-case investigators were helped by DNA and other forensic advances and by continued public interest that brought forward more witnesses.
Perone has denied involvement in Woods' slaying. He closed the store years ago, and it's not clear when he moved to Phoenix.