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Ex-NYPD transit cop held without bail after not guilty plea in wife's death

Paul Leitgeb, a retired New York City transit

Paul Leitgeb, a retired New York City transit police officer, inside Judge Toomey's courtroom in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, where Leitgeb was arraigned for the brutal murder of his wife with a baseball bat last month. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A retired NYPD transit officer who authorities said admitted to killing his wife in the couple's Lake Grove home by striking her in the head with a baseball bat, then strangling her, was arraigned Wednesday on a murder charge handed up by a Suffolk grand jury.

Paul Leitgeb, 49, remained silent during the brief court proceeding in Riverhead before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr., who ordered him held without bail.

Leitgeb's attorney, William Keahon of Hauppauge, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, then argued unsuccessfully for Leitgeb's release on bail.

Keahon told the judge his client is not a flight risk, although authorities said Leitgeb fled update after he killed his wife, Tricia Odierna, 42, the mother of his children, on Oct. 1.

Leitgeb and Odierna -- who have twin children -- adopted Odierna's three nephews after her sister died, Keahon said. The boys' father is unable to care for them because he's in jail.

"My client took their children into their house, raised them and cared for them," Keahon said in an attempt to persuade the judge to release his client on bail.

Toomey wasn't moved by Keahon's arguments and ordered Leitgeb held without bail.

On the afternoon of Oct. 1, police were summoned to Win Place by a 911 called made from the house where the couple lived with the five children. Police found Odierna's body on the bed the couple shared.

It's not known whether any of the children were home at the time of the discovery, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said.

Although Kurtzrock declined to say what drove Leitgeb to allegedly kill his wife, the prosecutor said last month that there were a "bunch of reasons," including financial difficulties.

None of the couple's relatives came to court Wednesday for the arraignment.

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