A Holyoke, Massachusetts, man charged with murder in the 2009 fatal shooting of an Iraq-bound Connecticut soldier and former high school football star has pleaded not guilty.
The Republican of Springfield reports that 30-year-old Michael Rodriguez pleaded not guilty Thursday in Hampden Superior Court in the slaying of 25-year-old Julian Cartie.
Cartie was shot in February 2009 in Springfield. The former New Britain High School football star was scheduled for deployment with the Connecticut National Guard to Iraq later that year.
Authorities say Cartie, his brother and a friend visited several Springfield clubs and were headed to a restaurant at about 2 a.m. when they got in a dispute with other people in a car. Police say one of the car's occupants got out and opened fire, striking Cartie three times.