SALEM, Mass. (AP) – A retired corrections officer charged in the decades-old killing of a New Hampshire girl in Massachusetts has pleaded not guilty.

Marvin C. McClendon Jr. will remain in custody following Thursday’s arraignment in Essex County Superior Court in Salem.

He’s due back late next month.

The 75-year-old Alabama resident has been charged with fatally stabbing 11-year-old Melissa Ann Tremblay in September 1988.

McClendon’s lawyer said Thursday his client “looks forward to holding the government to its very high burden of proof.”

Tremblay’s surviving family said they never gave up hope the young child’s killer would eventually be found and face judgment.