Troy Arrighi, 37, of Manhattan, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with second-degree murder and first-degree attempted robbery in the March 1994 death of Mario Andujar, 30. Suffolk County Court Judge James Hudson ordered Arrighi held without bail.
Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said Arrighi and another man tried to rob Diamond Trucking in West Babylon when Arrighi shot Andujar and the other man shot and injured Andujar's co-worker, Juan Garcia.
Kurtzrock did not say what finally led police to Arrighi. He said Arrighi admitted the crime to police.
Since the killing, Kurtzrock said, Arrighi has been in almost constant trouble with the law, with convictions on various drug, assault and theft charges.
Defense attorney Anthony LaPinta said there is no direct evidence tying his client to the crime. He said he suspected a co-defendant who may be cooperating with police pointed the finger at Arrighi.
About a dozen of Andujar's relatives watched the arraignment. The passage of time hasn't eased the loss at all, said Andujar's daughter, Diana Andujar.
"It's just rekindled everything," she said.
The victim's sister, Sonia Andujar, said she saw no sign of remorse from Arrighi. "You can see it in his face," she said.