LISLE, Ill. (AP) — A 43-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of a suburban Chicago woman more than 20 years ago.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports that Thomas Spear of Peoria entered the plea Monday to the murder charge and forgery charges. He is being held on $3 million bail in the DuPage County jail. Spear was charged last month in the August 1994 death of 71-year-old Illa Venard of Lisle.

Venard's body was found in her condominium. Police at the time said they believed she had been dead for several days before her son found her.

Prosecutors say they reopened the cold case earlier this year and found Spear in Peoria. They say he confessed to Venard's killing, including using a rope and hook to reach her second-story unit.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com