BARSTOW - It has been more than five years since he has been to Barstow, and Lawrence Rivera spent his first two days back in court.

The recently returned fugitive pleaded not guilty on Friday to the 2002 murder of Kristina Garcia, a Lenwood woman who was found stabbed to death in the desert near Yermo. Rivera was extradited from Australia on Wednesday, where has been fighting his return to the United States for several years.

In Australia, Rivera claimed he would not receive a fair trial in United States. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Fermin disputed that claim.

"We're glad he's back and can have his day in court," Fermin said after learning Rivera had been extradited.

Rivera's protests continued after he returned to California. In a Barstow courtroom on Thursday, Rivera made three requests of Judge John Vander Feer through his public defender, Paul Henderson.

On Rivera's behalf, Henderson asked the judge that Rivera be placed in protective custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, citing threats already made against Rivera by other inmates. Henderson also requested a gag order placed on the case which would restrict media access and coverage. Henderson told the judge that Rivera felt media coverage could taint a potential jury pool. Finally, Henderson asked the judge to have Rivera housed at the Barstow jail throughout the trial.

Vander Feer denied the last two requests. He said the gag order was not appropriate at this time and must be requested through a formal motion and that housing people on trial at the Barstow jail is not consistent with the policy of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The first request, protective custody, will be decided at a later time, Vander Feer said.

Rivera will be back in court on Jan. 17 on a bail reduction motion. His current bail is set at $1 million.

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