San Diego Superior Court. Photo by Chris Stone

A parolee from South Carolina who allegedly killed a man at a downtown San Diego motel pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

Ryan Breeland, 41, is accused in the slaying of Kenneth Banks, 32, who was found dead the morning of June 9 at a motel on 10th Avenue.

Employees who went inside a room to clean it found Banks’ body, according to San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs.

The lieutenant said the victim was believed to have been staying with the suspect, who paid for the room. The men appeared to be dating.

Police arrested Breeland and booked him into county jail later that day.

In announcing Breeland’s arrest last week, police did not release how Banks died. The criminal complaint though alleges the suspect used a knife in the killing.

The complaint also states the killing took place sometime between June 7 and June 9 and that Breeland has prior San Diego County convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.

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