, an ex-Hasbrouck Heights police officer, pleaded not guilty Monday to a 10-count indictment charging him in the December 2011 death of his long time friend , a Heights-native who lived in Wood-Ridge.
Smith, 33, appeared before Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi in court Monday morning. It was his second court appearance since being charged last December. A county grand jury indicted Smith on charges including murder, weapons possession and hindering.
Smith is accused with stabbing Amendola at his Wood-Ridge home during an argument, which prosecutors allege, was over drugs or money. A knife believed to be the murder weapon was found by investigators searching the homes of Smith and his girlfriend, according to the county prosecutor’s office.
Outside the courtroom, attorney Robert Stahl said Smith maintains his not guilty plea.
“We look forward to a trial where we will present our evidence,” Stahl said.
Smith is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 3, but a trial may not begin for some time, said Steven Wukovits another attorney for Smith.
As the plea was entered and charges were read, Smith stood beside Stahl and Wukovits, his eyes affixed straight ahead. He did not speak during the hearing.
Smith continues to be held at Bergen County Jail on $2 million bail.
Smith joined the Hasbrouck in 2000 and left in 2008, state employment records show. He was arrested in January 2010 on forgery, stolen property and obtaining drugs by fraud charges, records show.
The Hasbrouck Heights police chief filed disciplinary charges against Smith for a series of alleged misdeeds, including filing a false report and failure to respond to calls, Northjersey.com reported.