Judge won't dismiss sex assault counts in child's slaying

Posted: Updated:
FREEHOLD -

A Monmouth County judge has rejected a defense request to dismiss two aggravated sexual assault counts against an 18-year-old Keansburg man accused of killing his 11-year-old neighbor last summer.

The public defenders representing Andreas Erazo claimed prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to a grand jury to support the charges. But state Superior Court Judge David Bauman ruled that a grand jury could reasonably infer that Abbiegail Smith was sexually assaulted based on the state of her clothing, noting her pants were inside out and her underwear was wrapped around one pant leg and torn.

The Asbury Park Press reports that Erazo did not deny sexually assaulting the girl when he was questioned by police about the murder. Erazo allegedly told police that he had a tendency to block out traumatic events and “would not be surprised if he had,” according to statements read in court Monday.

Judge Bauman also revealed in court that Erazo allegedly told police that he thought the girl was an intruder in his apartment and stabbed her with a knife he was using while cooking dinner. He allegedly claimed that he did not know it was a little girl at the time.

Erazo is charged with murder and other counts in the girl's death. He's pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Smith was reported missing July 12. Her body was found the next morning wrapped in a comforter near the apartment building where both lived in Keansburg.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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