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Article updated: 1/29/2013 10:39 PM

As cameras roll, Woodridge murder suspect pleads not guilty

By Josh Stockinger

Woodridge murder suspect Adam Belmont on Tuesday became the third DuPage County defendant to have his arraignment photographed in court.

With cameras rolling, Belmont, 23, of Northlake, pleaded not guilty to the Dec. 15 slaying of his former girlfriend, Alyssa Van Meter, 25.

Belmont is accused of stabbing the victim in the heart with a pocketknife engraved with a commemoration of their anniversary. He then sexually assaulted her body, prosecutors said.

DuPage County Judge Blanche Hill Fawell is presiding over the case and allowed the media to photograph and video record Belmont's arraignment over defense objections.

It was the third time a DuPage criminal defendant was photographed in court since the Illinois Supreme Court last year launched a pilot program offering extended access to the media.

Van Meter was killed inside her Woodridge apartment about a week after she and Belmont broke off a long-standing relationship. Prosecutors said the defendant scaled the building and climbed through a window. He had no prior criminal history.

Belmont faces charges of first-degree murder, home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and abuse of a corpse, Assistant State's Attorney Demetri Demopoulos said. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

Prosecutors on Tuesday turned over 317 pages of investigative reports and 10 DVDs containing evidence to Belmont's defense counsel, Vincent M. Miceli. Outside of court, Miceli said it would take some time to go through the materials.

"(Belmont) knows there's a long road ahead of him, but like any murder case, it's not resolved in one or two court dates," he said.

The arraignment came a month after Belmont collapsed at a court appearance where prosecutors outlined in detail the charges against him -- but there was no noticeable drama this time.

Miceli had objected to the presence of cameras, arguing they could compromise Belmont's right to an impartial jury. Fawell wasn't swayed. She also denied a defense request to remove Belmont's handcuffs and allow him to attend court in street clothes, saying it would go against public transparency because in-custody defendants are routinely arraigned in jail attire.

Belmont is being held without bond and returns to court March 18.

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