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Northlake man pleads not guilty in fatal stabbing of girlfriend

Adam Belmont 23 Northlake enters courtroom DuPage County Courthouse WheatTuesday. Belmont was arraigned first-degree murder sex assault charges Dec. 15

Adam Belmont, 23, of Northlake, enters the courtroom at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, on Tuesday. Belmont was arraigned on first-degree murder and sex assault charges in the Dec. 15, 2012, death of his ex-girlfriend, Alyssa Van Meter. Belmont

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Updated: January 29, 2013 8:34PM

During a brief hearing recorded by media cameras, Adam Belmont formally denied fatally stabbing and then sexually assaulting his former girlfriend last month in her Woodridge apartment.

Belmont’s Tuesday arraignment marks the third time cameras have been allowed in DuPage County courtrooms under a new Illinois Supreme Court policy allowing broader media access.

The 23-year-old Northlake man had objected to having cameras at the hearing, but Judge Blanche Fawell rejected his claims that photographing him in court could prejudice future jurors against him.

Belmont faces a possible life sentence if convicted of the Dec. 15 slaying of 25-year-old Alyssa Van Meter.

Prosecutors contend Belmont climbed a balcony to break into the second-floor apartment he formerly shared with Van Meter, then choked her unconscious and fatally stabbed her after she refused to reconcile with him.

Belmont, a former tow truck driver, allegedly used a keepsake knife inscribed with their names and anniversary date to kill Van Meter, a fellow driver, authorities have said.

Before her death, Van Meter sent a text message to a friend warning that “Adam just broke into my apartment,” authorities have said.

After the slaying, Belmont allegedly sexually assaulted Van Meter before fleeing the apartment, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Vincent M. Miceli entered not guilty pleas on behalf of Belmont, who wore orange jail fatigues and stood handcuffed next to him.

Belmont had abruptly collapsed during an earlier hearing, but he remained composed during his arraignment, speaking only once after Fawell asked him if he understood he needed to appear in court for every hearing.

“Yes,” replied Belmont, who remains jailed without bail.

His 23-count indictment includes charges of first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, home invasion, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and abuse of a corpse.

Miceli declined to comment, except to say Belmont is ready to defend himself against the charges.

“He knows there’s a long road ahead of him,” Miceli said.

More than a dozen of Van Meter’s relatives and friends were in court for the hearing, but declined to comment outside the courtroom. ~.

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