BANGOR (AP) – A Bangor man who admitted beating up and hogtying a Carmel man but denied killing him has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Peter Tuller, 33, was arraigned Thursday in Penobscot County Superior Court in the June 25 slaying of Michael Demmons, 47, who died from blunt force trauma to the head, neck and chest and from suffocation.

No trial date has been set for Tuller, who has served time in prison for assault and was ordered held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail.

Demmons, who was 5-foot-2 and weighed 130 pounds, was found dead in the apartment of Tuller’s ex-girlfriend, Maria Santos. He had a white cloth and plastic bags over his head and a brown extension cord tying his arms and legs.

Tuller was found hiding under a bed in the same apartment, police said, and there was blood on the jean shorts he was wearing. The defendant admitted beating up Demmons “to the point he couldn’t defend himself” and hogtying him with the extension cord to keep him from moving, according to court documents. But he claimed that Santos had placed the bags over the victim’s head and tightened it.

“She wanted him to die,” Tuller allegedly told police. “I only wanted to beat him.” Santos has denied any role in the slaying and has not been charged.

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