LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A man charged with murdering a 20th Century Fox distribution executive plead not guilty during a court appearance Thursday.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports an attorney for 42-year-old John Lenzie Creech claimed the killing of Gavin Smith was self-defense, not murder.

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Smith’s body was found in the Antelope Valley in Oct. 2014, about two and a half years after he went missing in 2012.

According to Creech’s attorney Alex Kessel, Creech and Smith got into a dispute in Chatsworth the night of the murder.

“Mr. Gavin Smith attacked my client, and my client had to totally defend himself,” said Kessel.

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Kessel also claimed that Smith, a former UCLA basketball star, was involved with Creech’s wife Chandrika, and that the couple was in a car together the night of the fight.

“At one point in time, my client had asked Mr. Smith not to see his wife anymore years before, and he had no idea that his wife had reunited with Mr. Smith,” he said.

Creech is being held on $1 million bail. He is currently serving an eight-year jail term for his no contest plea in September 2012 to one count of sale or transportation for sale of a controlled substance, according the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

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A statement released by Smith’s family read in part: “His death has left a huge void in our lives that will never be filled. And have no doubt, the evidence will clearly show this was a cold blooded, premeditated act of murder.”