TV Chef Pleads Not Guilty to Murder-for-Hire Scheme

05/17/2010 at 06:10 PM EDT

TV Chef Pleads Not Guilty to Murder-for-Hire Scheme
Juan-Carlos Cruz
Santa Monica Police Department/AP
A former Food Network chef pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he hired homeless men to murder his wife, an alleged plot that was thwarted before the woman was killed.

Juan-Carlos Cruz, 48, was charged in Los Angeles with one count of attempted premeditated murder – which carries a life sentence if convicted – against Jennifer Campbell. He was also charged with one count of solicitation of murder.

Santa Monica police arrested Cruz on May 13 after he allegedly approached two men to kill someone. Court papers identified the intended victim as Campbell, Cruz's high school sweetheart.

Cruz, who hosted Calorie Commando from 2004 to 2006, is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail on $2 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on June 23.

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