Mark Spatucci pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and other charges in superior court in Hackensack  on Friday morning for the death of ex-girlfriend Mary Greff.

Mark Santucci during his first appearance in Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack (Twitter via @FiOS1NewsNJ)

Prosecutors told Bergen County Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi that following Greff's murder he deleted text messages between them and also washed his clothes according to the Star Ledger.  He was also ordered not to have any contact with his son reports the Bergen Record. DeAvila-Silebi ordered Spatucci to be remain in the Bergen County Jail on $2 million bail. 

Meanwhile, friends, family and residents in Waldwick are trying to figure out what drove a young father to murder his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child.

Spatucci, 22,is charged with the murder of Greff in her bedroom earlier in the week as their 8-month-old son also named Mark slept in a crib. The infant was unharmed.

Struggled With Being A Father

 

Mary Greff holds her infant son (WPIX TV)

Friends tell the Bergen Record that Spatucci struggled with being a father and began taking drugs and alcohol. Spatucci's friend T.J. Omelianuk told the newspaper that he was overwhelmed by becoming a father. “To be 22 years old and thrown into being a father? He was struggling," he said. Omelianuk says the two argued over child support and she threatened to not let Spatucci see his son.

Greff and Spatucci initially lived together after their son was born but she had moved back into her parents home after two months. They had encouraged her to return to classes at Lydon State University in Vermont and offered to care for their grandson.

The Record reports that the new Tilted Kilt Pub in Wayne, where Greff was training to be server, will create a scholarship in her name. "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with her son and family," the restaurant posted on its Facebook page. They have delayed their grand opening by a day.

Getting Things Together

Mark Spatucci (Bergen County Prosecutor's Office)

Omelianuk says Spatucci had recently started to get things together, becoming a "loving father"  and working full time at at party supply rental business. “Everything was going great for him,” Omelianuk said. “He was great with the kid.”

The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office says Spatucci and Greff had an argument that grew violent and ended with Spatucci choking Greff, leaving her dead on her bed. Her father discovered her several hours later.