A Minnesota man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge that he murdered a Cal State Northridge staff member nine years ago and left her body in the trunk of her car in a North Hollywood alley.
Jonathan Karl Lundh, 39, denied in Van Nuys Municipal Court that he killed Patty Lynne Cohen, 40, of Tarzana. Judge Kenneth Freeman scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 4.
Cohen disappeared April 27, 1982, after attending a self-improvement seminar at a Holiday Inn in Burbank. Her nude body was found five days later. She had been strangled.
Lundh was arrested two weeks later but never charged with the slaying because prosecutors said there was not enough evidence. He was, however, convicted of assaulting another woman in the Holiday Inn parking lot, just minutes before Cohen disappeared.
The Cohen case remained dormant until 1989, when Los Angeles police reopened their investigation and said they discovered new evidence linking Lundh to the slaying. Authorities declined to describe the new evidence. Lundh was charged last year and extradited in January from Minnesota, where he was in prison on a grand theft conviction. Lundh was originally charged with raping and robbing Cohen, but Freeman dismissed those charges Thursday because the statute of limitation for those crimes had expired.
Lundh, who is acting as his own attorney, vigorously denied in court that he had anything to do with Cohen's death.