Two Massachusetts men pleaded not guilty Monday in the shooting death of a female escort from New York City who prosecutors say was killed during a robbery attempt.
Police found the victim, 34-year-old Sanisha Johnson of the Bronx, in a room at a Burlington hotel early Thursday. Investigators say guests reported hearing a woman scream and a gunshot.
Epshod Jeune, of Burlington, and Derrell Fisher, of Boston, are charged with murder in Johnson's killing and attempted armed robbery in an attack on another woman at a hotel in neighboring Woburn shortly beforehand.
Adrienne Lynch, Middlesex County assistant district attorney, said in court Monday that the two men were engaged in a "joint venture to rob escorts at gunpoint."
Both men pleaded not guilty and were ordered held without bail.
Authorities said Johnson was shot once in the chest at close range when Jeune and Fisher tried to rob her at the Extended Stay America hotel.
Lynch said both men were seen on surveillance video entering the hotel before Johnson was killed and leaving a few minutes later.
The woman who was robbed at the Red Roof Inn in Woburn told police that Jeune grabbed her and put a gun to her head, then stole her purse, Lynch said. She said police later found the woman's identification at Jeune's home, as well as some ammunition. The gun has not been found, she said.
Attorneys for Jeune and Fisher did not immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.