A Burbank man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he stabbed his estranged girlfriend and left her in a Studio City park, officials said.
Stephen Joanou Jr., 26, is charged with killing 32-year-old Rosamond resident Patrina Sabella, who was discovered dead about 2:20 a.m. on March 20 at the South Weddington Park on the 10600 block of Valleyheart Drive, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division were responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon at the park that night when they found Sabella suffering from multiple stab wounds in the baseball fields, according to police. Firefighters later declared Sabella dead at the scene.
Detectives combed the park for evidence and talked to witnesses throughout the day. Their investigation led them to Joanou, who they arrested in Burbank the next day, according to police.
Joanou, who has prior drug and theft convictions, was being held on $1 million bail.
He is scheduled to appear June 5 in a Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom in Van Nuys.