A New Jersey man, allegedly found with a human head, a torso dressed in a suit jacket and necktie and part of an arm in his home pleaded not guilty Monday to desecrating human remains, in addition to child sex abuse charges.
Prosecutors called Robert Williams of Newark "dangerous to society" during Monday's hearing and argued he should remain in custody pending a trial.
He also faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child and child luring.
Public Defender Susan Freedman with her client Robert Frank Williams, 52, of Newark, who faced charges including endangering the welfare of a child and sexual assault of a victim between the ages of 13 and 15. (Ed Murray/NJ Advance Media via AP, Pool)
Investigators said Willams, 52, practiced Palo, a religion tied to African and Latin American countries, NJ.com reported.
Detectives said they found the mummified remains in a plastic bin in his closet during an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy. During a search of his home, they said they found the remains and an altar.
The remains were being examined, a spokesperson for the Essex County prosecutors office said. Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Michael Morris said they weren't related to the sex abuse charges.
Morris said the remains “raise the specter of a person out of step with society and dangerous to society.”
Williams’ lawyer, public defender Susan Friedman, had argued he could be released on home confinement and electronic monitoring. She said he'd lived in the area for 18 years and had one disorderly-person offense on his record from over a decade ago.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Wigler ordered Williams held until his trial.
Wigler said Williams could be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison for the most serious charge, the aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13. Statements by Williams corroborated the alleged victim’s statements, he said.
Williams' next court appearance has been scheduled for Sept. 16.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.