A drifter who was eyed as a possible suspect in a slaying in West Virginia has pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually assaulted a 73-year-old birdwatcher in Central Park in New York.
David Albert Mitchell entered the plea Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse. The 42-year-old has been jailed since his arrest last month on rape charges.
Prosecutors have accused Mitchell of assaulting the woman in broad daylight on Sept. 12. They say the attack occurred about a week after she photographed him exposing himself.
Mitchell was acquitted of a murder charge two decades ago in West Virginia, and authorities there say he was a possible suspect in another slaying that remains unsolved.
State Police Sgt. C.F. Kane of the Welch detachment in McDowell County said investigators considered Mitchell a suspect in the disappearance of Barbara Flake, who was last seen in 2002. Her remains were discovered in 2004, and the case was then classified as a homicide. Kane said Mitchell was a suspect, but there was never enough information or probable cause to make an arrest.
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