California News

Mar 3, 2010 7:11 PM

Sex offender charged in Chelsea King case

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A 30-year-old sex offender has been charged with murdering a 17-year-old San Diego County girl who vanished after heading off for a run in a park.

Prosecutors say John Albert Gardner III also faces a special allegation of rape or attempted rape, and a count of assault with intent to commit rape in a December attack on another person.

An attorney entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of Gardner during his brief court appearance Wednesday. Gardner stood in shackles, looking downward.

Teenager Chelsea King was last seen alive on Thursday, and her car was found that night at a semirural park in northeastern San Diego.

After a huge search, a body was found Tuesday in a grave by a lake, and authorities said they believed it was King, although positive identification is pending.

Gardner pleaded guilty in 2000 to molesting a 13-year-old neighbor girl.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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