A Norwood man authorities say struck a worker at a Wrentham motel and dragged her three miles has pleaded not guilty to related charges.
Moses Acloque was held on $3,000 bail after pleading not guilty in Wrentham District Court on Tuesday to charges of motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving with a suspended license.
Prosecutors say the 22-year-old man refused to pay his bill at the Arbor Inn, struck a man and a woman who worked at the motel, and dragged the woman along U.S. Route 1 to Foxborough.
"It's believed he had stolen a key without paying for it and (hotel workers) confronted him and demanded payment," said Prosecutor Greg Connor.
The body of 58-year-old Kanchanben Patel was found dead at about 10 p.m. Monday in a restaurant parking lot. Her husband survived with minor injuries.
Rudy Miller, Aclocque's attorney, said his client was visiting friends when he was attacked by motel staff and drove away in fear. He had no idea Patel was being dragged.
"He was taken to the hospital for facial injuries and head injuries. The injuries were from foot blows and punches to his head," Miller said.
A passenger in the pickup truck Aclocque was driving was not charged.
Those who knew Patel were devastated by her loss and were glad a suspect was taken into custody.
"I don't think too highly of a person that would drag someone three miles down the road, no," said Kim Pena, motel patron.
Aclocque is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 19.
NBC 10 contributed to this report.