A judge in Cleveland has set bond at a stiff $75 million for a former fugitive accused of killing his wife with cyanide.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg on Wednesday described 40-year-old Yazeed Essa as an "obvious flight risk."

Essa returned to Ohio last week from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus where he turned up in 2006, the year after his wife, Rosemarie, was poisoned.

During his brief video arraignment from jail, Essa pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder.

Defense attorney Steven Bradley said afterward that Essa fled because he believed initially that, as an Arab-American, he would not be able to get a fair trial in the U.S.

The one-time Akron General Hospital physician faces a life sentence if convicted.