A parolee denied killing an 80-year-old California man and encasing his body in concrete in a San Diego yard.

Three roommates found the body in September while demolishing a large egg-shaped concrete form left in the North Park yard.

Thomas Jeffrey Brooks, 39, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder and identity theft in connection with the slaying of Edward Clayton Andrews of Hemet, who died of asphyxiation.

A special-circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain makes Brooks eligible for the death penalty.

San Diego prosecutor Dino Paraskevopoulos said Brooks was in federal prison when he started a pen-pal relationship with Andrews.

The friendship turned romantic when Brooks was released.