Bail has been set at $1.5 million for a Wesley Hills man accused of beating his estranged girlfriend to death Friday in her apartment.
Riad Dib, 66, pleaded not guilty in Rockland County Court in New City on Thursday after he was indicted Wednesday on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Cecile Garbarino, 68.
Dib did not make bail and was returned to Rockland County Jail after the hearing before County Court Judge William Nelson.
Questions also were raised in court Thursday about whether Dib, who had an Arabic interpreter with him, is in the country illegally, News12 reported.
Dib struck Garbarino more than 20 times on the head and face with a blunt object, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Wednesday in announcing the indictment. Dib used a thick-heeled boot to beat Garbarino to death, authorities said.
He later dialed 911, and police arrived at the victim's apartment at 171 Grandview Ave. to find Garbarino dead on the bedroom floor and Dib wearing blood-spattered clothes, prosecutors said.
Dib immediately was taken into custody by Ramapo police.
Ramapo police said the unmarried couple lived together, but Garbarino's son, Michael Garbarino, said his mother -- who worked as a school secretary at Lime Kiln Elementary School in Suffern -- ended a relationship with Dib a year-and-a-half ago.
Garbarino's wake is 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Wanamaker & Carlough Funeral Home in Suffern. Her funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Wesley Hills, with burial to follow at F.W. Loescher Veterans Memorial Cemetery in New Hempstead.
Dib faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He returns to court Feb. 19.
He is being represented by the Rockland County public defender's office. Public Defender James Licata and Deputy Public Defender Clare McCue Cincotta did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday.