REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — A man facing the death penalty for allegedly killing and sexually assaulting a woman 25 years ago has pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court, prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old Brisbane resident Gabriel O’Neill, 27-year-old Sheila Lorraine Hatcher and three others drove to San Bruno Mountain to use drugs on March 12, 1989. While there, attorneys allege that O’Neill and Hatcher walked away from the others.

Once out of view of the others, O’Neill is accused of sexually assaulting Hatcher and beating her to death.

Authorities report Hatcher’s body was found that day in a ravine by two hikers. At the time, investigators could not find sufficient evidence to identify a suspect. But, in 2013, Hatcher’s family requested the case be reopened by the sheriff’s office.

According the sheriff’s office, O’Neill’s DNA has been found on Hatcher.

O’Neill pleaded not guilty to the charges on Thursday before Judge Mark Forcum. Prosecutors also say O’Neill waved his right to a speedy preliminary hearing.

The preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 10, 2014 at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, O’Neill remains in custody without bail.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed


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