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Suspect Accused Of Murdering Chelsea King Pleads Not Guilty

A 30-year-old convicted sex offender was charged today with murdering and raping or attempting to rape 17-year-old Chelsea King, who disappeared last week after heading out for a run in a park.

John Albert Gardner III stood in court in shackles with his eyes cast downward, showing no emotion, as an attorney waived arraignment and a reading of the complaint and entered pleas of not guilty in the potential death penalty case.

San Diego County prosecutors charged Gardner with one count of murder with a special circumstance allegation that the crime occurred in the commission of rape or attempted rape.

A second count of assault with intent to commit rape was filed in connection with a December attack on another female.

The Lake Elsinore man was arrested Sunday as a huge search was under way in a wilderness park in northeastern San Diego, where King's car was found parked Thursday night.

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