HACKENSACK, New Jersey — A northern New Jersey man accused of fatally beating his wife last year has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge.
The Record (http://bit.ly/1naYCJr) reports that 65-year-old Thomas Fabbricatore entered his plea during a court hearing Monday. He's charged with first-degree murder, a weapons offense and hindering his prosecution by providing false information.
The Hackensack resident remains jailed on $2 million bail and could face a life sentence if convicted.
Fabbricatore initially was charged with attempted murder. But that was upgraded after his 58-year-old wife, Beth, died from her injuries.
Thomas Fabbricatore's lawyer, Frank Lucianna, had previously moved to have the trial moved out of Bergen County, but he has withdrawn that motion. He also asked state Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi to recuse herself, but the judge denied that motion Monday.
Lucianna has said his client didn't intend to hurt his wife, claiming she accidentally fell down a flight of stairs and hit her head when they pushed each other during a "domestic spat" last November.
Authorities responded to the couple's home that day after receiving an anonymous tip. They said Thomas Fabbricatore told them there was nothing wrong, but police found his wife on the floor with grave injuries.
In February, Lucianna had unsuccessfully sought to have his client's bail lowered, claiming the amount was excessive. He also noted his client has no prior criminal record and said his strong ties to Bergen County make it unlikely that he would flee to avoid prosecution.
The judge denied the request, citing Fabbricatore's long history of domestic violence against his wife and other issues.
Bergen County prosecutors have said the defense is downplaying the incident.
Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, New Jersey), http://www.northjersey.com
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