HOLLYWOOD—John Lenzie Creech, a 42-year-old convicted drug dealer who is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for the sale of a controlled substance, was charged on January 29, with the murder of Gavin Smith, a 20th Century Fox executive.

Smith disappeared in May 2012 after leaving a friend’s Ventura County home. The 57-year-old’s remains were discovered by hikers nearly half a year later in the desert north of Los Angeles.

Investigators have indicated that they believe Smith was killed the night he disappeared, but did not provide any details as to the cause of death, because the case remains under a security hold.

Smith’s black Mercedes-Benz was found at a Simi Valley storage facility, which was linked to Creech. Investigators also mentioned that Creech’s wife had “a relationship” with Smith. They had reportedly met in 2009 at a rehab located in Chandrika Creech, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Creech’s attorney, Alex Kessel, argued, “There may have been a fight but I can tell you there was no criminal intent.” He added, “There was no malice. There was no intent, no premeditation for any type of homicide to take place.”

Smith was also known for playing on the 1975 UCLA national championship basketball team. Shortly after his disappearance, his family posted a $20,000 reward, saying the tall, “movie star” looks should be easy to spot.

Creech did not enter a plea and his arraignment has been postponed to February 26.