A man accused of strangling a retired Hollywood High School teacher, with whom he had corresponded while imprisoned on the East Coast, pleaded not guilty today to a murder charge.
Scott Kratlian, 44, who is also known as Scott Porter, is accused of killing 82-year-old Harry Major, who was found dead around 7:20 p.m. Feb. 12 in his apartment in the 1400 block of North Vista Street in the Hollywood area.
His body bore signs of blunt-force trauma and his credit cards were missing, according to detectives.
Prosecutors said Kratlian and Major became pen pals while Kratlian was serving a term in a New York prison for a 1993 manslaughter conviction. Kratlian was released late last year.
Kratlian is being held in lieu of $1.08 million bail and is due back in court on March 17, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to order him to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, he faces up to 56 years to life in prison.
Major was an English teacher at Hollywood High School for nearly 30 years and retired in the mid-1980s.--City News Service