Man accused of deadly hatchet attack pleads not guilty to indictment on murder charge

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The man at the center of a debate over new criminal justice laws Friday pleaded not guility after he was indicted on a murder charge.

Joseph Rivera, 21, made the plea in court. He is accused of attacking Heather Majors with a hatchet back in July. She died 10 days later.

Rivera was being held on a parole violation while police looked into the attack, but was soon released as part of the "Less is More Act" signed by the governor.

Rivera was arrested shortly afterward. Last month, a grand jury voted to indict him on at least one felony charge in the case, it was specified as second-degree murder Tuesday.

He is being held on no bail, no release, as Monroe County prosecutors say the judge deferred bail until Rivera can be in front of his assigned judge.

His next court appearance will be next Wednesday, where he can apply for bail.