Suspect in N.Y. killings, rapes pleads not guilty

Altemio Sanchez
Altemio Sanchez, center, is escorted Tuesday to his arraignment in Buffalo, N.Y. Erie County prosecutor Frank Clark said Sanchez is linked by DNA evidence to a jogger's strangling death last fall, two rape-murders in the early 1990s and rapes dating to the 1980s. David Duprey / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man whose DNA linked him to the deaths of three joggers and a series of rapes over the past 20 years pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of murder.

Altemio Sanchez, a married father of two, entered his plea to one count of second-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old woman found raped and strangled on a Buffalo street in November 1992.

Additional charges against Sanchez are expected, authorities said.

Sanchez made no comments during his arraignment in County Court. His wife and a son watched the proceedings and left without talking to reporters.

Sanchez’s attorney said the family believes authorities have the wrong man.

“They demanded to be here to show support to Mr. Sanchez,” said attorney Andrew LoTempio, who said he advised relatives to avoid the hearing. “They do not believe any of this is true.”

Sanchez, 48, was arrested Monday as he left the factory where he worked, more than a week after being placed under surveillance.

While Sanchez’s neighbors and co-workers shared the family’s disbelief at the arrest, prosecutors said DNA evidence secretly collected from a restaurant where Sanchez ate Saturday matched DNA from numerous crime scenes.

Sanchez is also suspected in the strangulation death of a 45-year-old woman whose body was found along a bike path in Newstead this past fall, and the rape-murder of University at Buffalo student who was killed along another path in 1990. DNA evidence also links Sanchez to at least six unsolved sex attacks between 1986 and 1994, investigators said.

Sanchez was being held without bail.