Accused pleads not guilty



The man accused of attempting to kidnap a Yale student in July pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court on Church Street.

Eric Sanchez, 21, was arrested only a few hours after a 25-year-old woman fought off an abduction attempt near East Rock Park. Sanchez, of 95 Spring St., is charged with criminal attempt to commit kidnapping in the second degree, unlawful restraint in the second degree and assault in the third degree.

Scott Jones, the public defender representing Sanchez, said he first met with his client Tuesday morning before the plea hearing. Jones said he is waiting to be provided the police reports about the incident before he can formulate a defense for Sanchez.

“The state has to fulfill its obligation to provide discovery,” Jones said.

Maxine Wilensky, the state’s attorney prosecuting Sanchez, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

The kidnapping attempt occurred the morning of July 18, while the student was jogging near 340 Livingston St. — about a mile from Science Hill. The woman told police she saw a saw a grey four-door vehicle which appeared to be empty parked on Livingston Street. A man who was standing outside the vehicle grabbed her arm as she passed the car and tried to push her inside.

The student escaped and ran to a group of passersby, who called the police. The description she gave of the suspect led police to Sanchez, who was picked up that evening in the area of Lombard and Ferry streets.

The incident — coupled with a series of shootings the previous week — prompted an e-mail from University Police Chief James Perrotti to students, faculty and staff, informing them of the crime and reminding them to be attentive to their personal safety.

Sanchez is currently in custody in lieu of $75,000 bond, New Haven Superior Court clerk John Zekin said. He is an inmate at the Corrigan Correctional Institution, a high-security facility in Uncasville, Conn.

A pretrial conference in the case is scheduled for Oct. 4.

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