A homeless man accused of killing a homeless woman with a tree branch in February in Costa Mesa pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Thursday, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
Daniel Correa, 24, who previously lived in Santa Ana, also denied a sentencing enhancement allegation that he personally used a deadly weapon.
Authorities allege Correa killed Ashley Boulay, 29, at a nature preserve at 1299 Victoria St.
Authorities described Boulay as a transient who previously lived in Massachusetts. Police said her body showed signs of blunt force trauma, but they did not detail her injuries.
Costa Mesa detectives began investigating Boulay's death as a homicide after receiving a call at 7:10 a.m. Feb. 28 from a man, later identified as Correa, who said he had found a woman's body in the park, police said. It isn't clear how authorities came to suspect Correa in the crime.
Correa, who is listed in jail records as a warehouse worker, is being held in Orange County Jail in Santa Ana with bail set at $1 million.
If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison.