Man accused of stabbing young mother to death as she walked with son in park pleads not guilty

A man accused of stabbing a woman to death while she was with her young son in a New Mexico city park has pleaded not guilty.

The Clovis News Journal reports ( Matthew Jennings appeared in court Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge and was ordered held without bond.

Jennings is charged in the Nov. 9 killing of 23-year-old Ariel Ulibarri in Clovis, a city of about 38,000 near the Texas border.

Ulibarri was attacked as she walked in a park with her 6-year-old son. The boy was later found wandering in the parking lot.

Authorities say Jennings told them someone hired him to kill the woman, though it's unclear who.

Jennings' trial won't be held immediately. District Attorney Andrea Reeb says forensic evidence that's being tested won't be available for at least six months.

If convicted, Jennings could face at least 30 years before being eligible for parole.