Winery worker Ramon Salcido pleaded not guilty to charges he murdered seven people including his wife and two children in a bloody rampage through northern California's rustic wine country.
Authorities, fearing a vigilante attack against Salcido, beefed up security for the proceeding to levels not before seen in Sonoma County, about 60 miles north of San Francisco, but there were no incidents.Salcido, 28, who wore a red prison jumpsuit and a bullet-proof vest and was guarded by eight armed deputies, stood quietly and spoke little during the brief appearance Friday before Municipal Judge Knoel Owens.
Owens set a Sept. 11 preliminary hearing and extended indefinitely a gag order that was in place. Salcido's lawyer, Marteen Miller, a public defender, and prosecutor Peter Bumerts both agreed to the extension of the gag order, which has been challenged by several news organizations.
Salcido, who could face the death penalty if convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, pleaded not guilty. Miller had previously indicated he would use insanity as a defense.
Salcido remains jailed without bail in an isolation cell. He is under 24-hour watch at the jail and has been kept isolated from the rest of the inmates ever since his April 20 arrival.
Outside the courtroom, Miller said he would seek a change of venue after the September hearing and indicated he would prefer San Diego for the trial.
On April 14, Salcido allegedly killed his wife, Angela, 24; two of his three daughters, Sofia, 4, and Teresa, 1; his mother-in-law, Marian Louise Richards, 42; Angela's two sisters, Ruth, 12, and Maria, 8; and a co-worker at the Grand Cru winery, Tracy Toovey, 35.
He allegedly slashed the throats of all three of his daughters, leaving them for dead at a dump near Petaluma. One daughter, Carmina, 3, just barely survived the brutal attack.