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Sex Offender John Albert Gardner III Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering Chelsea King, Missing Teen

(San Diego County Sheriff's Dept.)
(AP Photo )
(Personal Photo)
SAN DIEGO (CBS/AP) John Albert Gardner III had only two words to say to prosecutors who charged him with murdering 17-year-old high school student Chelsea King - not guilty.

Photo: John Albert Gardner III.

PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil, Family Mourns

Gardner, a sex offender who was allowed to remove his monitoring bracelet two years ago, was arrested Sunday, after investigators say they had physical evidence tying him to the case. Chelsea King's mother, Kelly King, said that evidence was DNA on her daughter's underwear.

King disappeared last Thursday while running in a San Diego park. More than 1,400 people searched for her body over the weekend, but couldn't find her.

Photo: Chelsea King.

PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil, Family Mourns

Yesterday, a dive team found her body in a shallow grave in a tributary of Lake Hodges, according to the . The grave was around half-a-mile from where King's BMW was found.

Gardner has a track record of attacking young girls. The 30-year-old pleaded guilty in May 2000 to molesting a 13-year-old female neighbor and served five years of a six-year prison term.

Photo: Chelsea King.

PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil, Family Mourns

Prosecutors say he lured the victim to his home with an offer to watch "Patch Adams," a 1998 movie starring Robin Williams. The girl was beaten before escaping and running to a neighbor.

Investigators suspect Gardner could also be tied to a Dec. 27 assault on a female jogger from Colorado who fended off her attacker in the same park where King's body was found.

King was born in suburban San Diego but lived in the Chicago suburb of Naperville with her family for 10 years before the family returned to California. She was a straight A student at Poway High School.

During a Tuesday vigil for his daughter, Brent King told the thousands who came to honor her, "She's my angel forever."

"I want to thank you. Chelsea wants to thank you," he said. When someone shouted, "We love you," Brent King responded, "We love all of you."

MEDIA
PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil, Family Mourns

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