Muhammad Atif Syed pleaded not guilty Friday to three counts of first-degree murder in a series of shooting deaths in July and August that rocked Albuquerque’s Muslim community.
Syed, 51, entered the not guilty plea through his attorney during a brief hearing before 2nd Judicial District Judge Cindy Leos.
Syed appeared in the remote hearing from the Metropolitan Detention Center where a judge last week ordered him to remain held while he awaits trial.
Syed initially was arrested Aug. 9 on two open counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Aftab Hussein, 41, on July 26, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, on Aug. 1.
A grand jury indicted Syed on Aug. 19 on three counts of first-degree murder, adding the Aug. 5 shooting death of Naeem Hussein, 25, to those of the other two killings.
The indictment also charges Syed with four counts of tampering with evidence for allegedly attempting to conceal a firearm, a cell phone, a Volkswagen Jetta, and the car’s hubcaps to avoid arrest and prosecution for the three killings.