A 48-year-old man in San Francisco has appeared in court on a charge of murdering his long term partner.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, Timothy Stewart pleaded not guilty and denied an allegation of using a deadly weapon against 60-year-old Terry Rex Spray, at San Francisco Superior Court, on Friday of last week.

Officials say Mr Spray was found unconscious, not breathing, and bleeding in the garage of the couple’s apartment building at 1135 Ellis Street on August 3.

He died on September 18, and police arrested Mr Stewart on September 24.

Evan Morgan, a friend of Mr Spray told the court:

“If Tim is innocent, the last thing [Mr Spray] would have wanted was for him to be incarcerated and enmeshed in the criminal justice system, and the evidence I’ve heard doesn’t sound that convincing beyond a reasonable doubt to me”.

Mr Morgan said Mr Spray had seemed “fine” when they last spoke several days before the incident happened.

In an email, Mr Stewart’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Danielle Harris said:

“My client is grieving the loss of his longtime partner. He had nothing to do with the events that led to Rex Spray’s death and we look forward to proving in court that there is no evidence showing otherwise.

“Tim is as eager to understand what happened to Rex as anyone could be.”

Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said:

“We would not charge a case unless we had a good faith basis to believe we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.” Mr Bastian didn’t say what evidence prosecutors have, but he said the weapon was “a blunt instrument.”

Mr Stewart is currently in custody in San Francisco County jail on $3 million bail (£1.87 million).

His next court date is Friday, October 12 for a status update.

Assistant District Attorney John Rowland is the prosecutor assigned to the case.