ITHACA, N.Y. – A Dryden man accused of murder and arson was arraigned in Tompkins County Court early Friday morning, entering a not-guilty plea.

Michael A. Davis, 45, is charged with crimes related to the death of Ithaca woman Josie Berrios, 28, who was found dead at a construction site in Collegetown on June 13. Friday’s arraignment was his first appearance in Tompkins County Court since the accusations.

According to police, officers found Berrios dead at the scene with “apparent burns” on her body, and an accelerant in the form of gasoline was also found at the site.

Davis was indicted last week on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree arson. According to the District Attorney’s office, he has been charged with “starting a fire in a building which caused the death of (Berrios).”

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Mr. Davis, the next step in this process is for the attorneys to meet and discuss the issues that need to be dealt with,” Judge John C. Rowley said. “I can tell you at this point I would not expect a trial if it isn’t scheduled before January.” 

Davis, who was represented by attorneys James Baker and Russell Maines, entered a not-guilty plea during the arraignment on Friday. Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia is prosecuting the case.

Davis was remanded to Tompkins County Jail without bail pending further action.

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.