A 21-year-old Long Island man was arraigned on charges of killing his classmate on Friday.
Thomas Liming surrendered to Suffolk authorities on Friday and is being held on $5 million cash bail or $15 million bond.
Prosecutors wanted Liming held without bail, calling him a flight risk.
He is charged with the murder of 18-year-old Kyle Underhill, whose beaten body was found in a marsh in a remote area of Islip in November 2011.
Underhill suffered more than a dozen blunt-force injuries on his face and neck and had multiple fractured ribs, said Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson. The body showed evidence of “neck compression,” she said, citing a fractured bone in the back of the teen’s neck.
The medical examiner’s office told the Albertson that Underhill was still alive when he was submerged in the Marsh.
Liming’s defense attorney Joseph Corozza admitted that Liming has known he was a suspect in the case, but said his client did not commit a crime. Corozza told Newsday there is more to the story.
Brian Melton, 20, who goes to school with Liming at Suffolk County Community College, said Liming and Underhill were close friends.
"They were the best of friends," Melton said. "They were like brothers. Kyle and Tom got along famously."
Melton said he was shocked at Liming’s arrest.
"Tom killing Kyle? That's impossible in my head," Melton said.
"Thomas Liming did not commit a crime … and when the jury hears all the evidence, Mr. Liming will be found not guilty," Corozzo said in a statement.
"There's a lot to this case," he said.
A motive for the crime has not been released.
Liming is scheduled to be back in court Jan. 3.