Maurice Nasmeh, the man accused of killing a Los Gatos woman more
than three years ago, pleaded not guilty Monday, after declining to
do so in two previous court hearings since his arrest on Dec.
The 41-year-old architect remained in jail without bail after the
brief appearance, at which his attorneys requested that a scheduled
bail hearing be postponed again. The matter was rescheduled for a
hearing at 8:30 a.m. on April 8 before Santa Clara County Superior
Court Judge Jerome Nadler.
Nasmeh is accused of killing Jeanine Harms, who disappeared July
27, 2001, after a late-night date with him. Harms, who was 42, met
him at a bar and invited him to her home. Her body has never been
Investigators said they broke the case in April 2003 when a
Persian rug from Harms' home was found. After police publicized
their search for the rug, a San Jose woman came forward to say she
had been using it in her home after finding it near a shopping
center trash bin a few weeks after Harms' reported disappearance.
The San Jose shopping center is about a half-mile from Nasmeh's
Forensic tests that took months to complete detected fibers on
the rug from a crafts project of Harms' that matched fibers found in
the cargo area of Nasmeh's Jeep Grand Cherokee. Police believe he
used the vehicle to dispose of Harms' body and the rug.
Nasmeh had declined on two previous occasions to enter a plea
because he hadn't settled on an attorney. Earlier this month, Nasmeh
named the law firm of flamboyant San Francisco lawyer Tony Serra and
San Jose lawyer Dan Jensen to represent him. William Welch, of
Serra's firm, and Jensen were in court with Nasmeh on Monday.
Nasmeh was shackled and wore the red jail shirt of a high-risk
suspect to the hearing. Harms' parents and numerous friends and
relatives packed the courtroom, many of them openly upset that the
bail hearing was postponed.
Staff Writer Chuck Carroll contributed to