AUBURN | Dressed in a pair of state-issued, forest-green prison scrubs, David McNamara walked into Cayuga County Court with two correctional officers on his heels.
With a clink from the cuffs shackling his hands and feet, the 36-year-old Auburn man settled into his seat at the defense table and leaned over to whisper in his defense attorney's ear.
McNamara appeared in court Tuesday morning with Douglas Bates, his newly assigned defense attorney, after a Rochester appeals court ruled to reinstate the indictment charging McNamara with the murder of Katie Socci.
From the time Socci's body was found buried in a shallow grave near a nature trail bordering Dunning Avenue on June 14, 2011, police considered McNamara — Socci's former boyfriend — a person of interest in her death.
McNamara was charged with second-degree murder four months after Socci's death and accused of fatally strangling her while Sydney, their then 18-month-old child, slept in her room.
But weeks after he was officially indicted for her death, Judge Mark Fandrich dismissed the charges after ruling the Cayuga County District Attorney's Office violated McNamara's right to testify in front of a grand jury.
More than a year after Socci's death, an appeal's court reversed Fandrich's ruling, reinstating McNamara's murder indictment last month.
McNamara's court appearance was brief.
Along with setting motion dates, Fandrich ordered the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to transfer McNamara — who is currently serving a 5-year sentence for an unrelated drug conviction — from Great Meadow Correction Facility to Elmira Correctional Facility to make it easier for Bates to confer with his client.
Fandrich said he intends to schedule McNamara's trial to start March 18, 2013.
As officers escorted McNamara out of court, Socci's mother repeatedly called his name. With a muscle twitching in his jaw, McNamara turned and looked at Tina Socci.
"Do you want Sydney to see this?" Socci asked McNamara, referring to the trial. "You killed her mother."
McNamara shook his head, stopping once more to face her.
"You know I love Sydney," he said, before walking out of court and out of sight.
McNamara is due back in court in January, when his attorney and District Attorney Jon Budelmann are set to argue motions.