John Gardner Arraignment Yields 'Not Guilty' Plea

Convicted child molester John Gardner was brought before a judge Wednesday on charges that he murdered 17-year-old Chelsea King. Gardner shocked many by entering a plea of not guilty.

John Gardner at his arraignment Wednesday. (From abc.com)
King disappeared last Thursday while going for a jog in a San Diego park. Following her disappearance, police enlisted the help of the public as nearly 1,400 people searched for the high school student. But it wasn't until Tuesday that a dive team found her body in a shallow grave in a tributary of Lake Hodges, about half a mile from where her BMW was found.

Gardner was taken into custody Sunday, and his violent history of sexual predation has many wondering why he was even on the streets. Gardner pleaded guilty molesting a 13-year-old girl in 2000 after luring her into his house by offering to watch Patch Adams with her. He served five years of a six-year sentence, and two years ago he was allowed to remove the monitoring bracelet he wore.

The accused killer may also be tied to an attack on a female jogger near the same area on Dec. 27th. In that instance the jogger fought off her attacker and ran away.

Police took Gardner into custody before finding King's body because they found a critical piece of evidence. That evidence? According to the victim's mother, Kelly King, they found Gardner's DNA on her daughter's underwear.

Gardner's one count of murder us under a special circumstance allegation that the killing occurred during a rape or attempted rape.
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