Bridgeport teen pleads not guilty to murder of 14-year-old boy
BRIDGEPORT — A 19-year-old city teen, who police said admitted to strangling a 14-year-old boy, pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday.
Sitting in a small room at the Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire, Diante Willoughby yawned as Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander, by video conferencing, informed him of his rights. He then agreed to waive a hearing on probable cause and pleaded not guilty to murder and murder with special circumstances.
He asked for a jury trial.
Willoughby’s lawyer, Public Defender Joseph Bruckmann, asked the judge for a lengthy continuance so that he could review all the records in the case.
The judge agreed and continued the case to Oct. 11. If convicted of murder with special circumstances, Willoughby would be sentenced to life without the possibility of release.
Willoughby, of Putnam Street, is charged in the death of 14-year-old Jose Nunez, whose body was found in a wooded area of Oxford on July 29, one day after his mother reported him missing to police.
Nunez’s family sat in the back of the courtroom in the Fairfield County Courthouse during the short proceeding, their eyes glued to the large video monitor. They later declined comment as they left the courthouse.
Willoughby is being held in lieu of $2 million bond.
A 14-year-old boy has also been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the death of Nunez. Due to his age, his case has been sealed and will be held in state Juvenile Court.