A man accused of fatally stabbing his wife at their Moreno Valley apartment pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

Jose Alexander Rivas, 36, was arraigned before Superior Court Judge David Gunn, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for May 15 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Along with the murder count, Rivas is charged with a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon — a knife — in the commission of a felony.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, deputies were called to an apartment at the intersection of JFK Drive and Perris Boulevard about 4:30 a.m. on March 19 to investigate reports of an assault. They found Dixie Rivas inside the residence, dead from stab wounds to the upper body, and took her husband into custody after questioning him, Brosche said.

A possible motive for the attack was not disclosed.

The defendant, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, has no prior documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

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