Richard Gustav Forsberg, the Rancho Santa Margarita man accused of bludgeoning his wife and burning her body, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder.
Forsberg, 61, is charged with killing Marcia Ann Forsberg last year, and then dismembering the body over the next two weeks and burning it in campsites at Lake Piru in Ventura County.
There is no body in the case.
Coincidentally, on Tuesday deputy district attorney from a jury in the murder trial of Gary A. Shawkey, who was found to have killed Robert Lee Vendrick of Phoenix for financial gain and dumping the body at sea.
In that case, like the Forsberg case, no body was ever found.
Baytieh is the prosecutor in the Forsberg case.
If convicted, Forsberg could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Earlier this month, detective Mike Thompson testified that wife of 39 years by hitting her in the head with a statue, and then cutting her body in pieces with a hacksaw and storing parts in garbage bags and freezing them. Forsberg rented an RV and burned the body over two weekends at Lake Piru, Thompson said.
Forsberg had told friends that his wife had gone to see friends, and then that they had separated. When investigators questioned him more than six months after the Feb. 9, 2010 killings, Forsberg left the area and tried to commit suicide with sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. He was arrested in a Palm Springs area hospital on Aug. 30.