California man pleads not guilty to killing, cooking wife

OCEANSIDE, California Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:43am IST

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OCEANSIDE, California (Reuters) - A southern California man whose wife's flesh was found cooking in pots on the stove at their home in Oceanside has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges, authorities said.

Oceanside police said they arrested Frederick Hengl, 68, last Friday after they were called to investigate a foul smell coming from the home he shared with his wife, Anna Faris, 73, a few blocks from Oceanside pier.

Investigating officers found parts of Faris' body cooking in three pots on the stove top, according to Deputy District Attorney Katherine Flaherty.

"The first responding officer saw what she believed was meat cooking on the stove top," Flaherty told reporters at Hengl's arraignment Wednesday.

"In addition to the parts of the victim that were cooking, her severed head was found in the freezer," she added.

Hengl was arrested as he finished a beer at a bar near the couple's home. He was subsequently charged with murder, mutilation of remains and cruelty to a dependent elderly person, according to court records.

He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing at the Vista branch of the San Diego County Superior Court on Wednesday. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they intend to seek the death penalty.

Hengl is due to return to court on December 3 for a status conference, an informal discussion between the judge, prosecution and defendant about the case.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Lisa Shumaker)

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