SACRAMENTO - "Please remain seated. Department 60 is now in session," the court bailiff said, marking the trial of Orville Fleming as the court's first order of business for the day.
According to Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, the former Cal Fire battalion chief had previously given a videotaped confession to detectives, admitting to killing his live-in girlfriend Sarah Douglas.
Fleming, 55, is accused of stabbing Douglas, 26, to death and then hiding for 16 days during a massive search.
In court today, Fleming's attorney Peter Kmeto requested a plea of not guilt, setting off an emotional response from family.
"I mean, he confessed. There it is, there," said Trina Werly, Sarah Douglas' aunt.
"Rarely are there false confessions but sometimes it does happen but he confessed."