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NEWPORT BEACH : Famalaro Denies Guilt in Huber Sex Slaying

October 05, 1994|RENE LYNCH

A handyman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing and sexually assaulting a young Newport Beach woman and stowing her nude, handcuffed body inside a running freezer for nearly three years.

John J. Famalaro, 37, did not speak during the brief court hearing in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana. He showed no emotion when Deputy Public Defender Brian Ducker entered a plea of not guilty for him.

The Orange County Grand Jury on Thursday indicted Famalaro on kidnaping and murder charges and also added an allegation that he sexually assaulted his victim.

The former Lake Forest resident faces the death penalty in the slaying of Denise Huber, 23. She disappeared in June, 1991, and her body was found three years later in a running freezer at Famalaro's home in Arizona.

The notoriety of the case has made Famalaro the subject of threats in the Orange County Men's Jail, where he is being held in protective custody, without bail.

Famalaro was arrested in July in Prescott, Ariz.

Huber was a UC Irvine graduate working as a waitress and department store clerk when she vanished on her way home from a rock concert in Inglewood. Her car was found with a flat tire on the shoulder of the Corona del Mar Freeway in Costa Mesa, less than two miles from where she lived with her parents.

Authorities believe Huber was kidnaped and killed in a Laguna Hills storage facility where Famalaro was illegally living at the time. An autopsy showed she was bludgeoned, possibly by a tool, and sodomized.

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