BELFAST — A 24-year-old Maine man accused of shooting a Florida firefighter in the head in a drug dispute has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Daniel Porter entered his plea Wednesday during an arraignment in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast.

Authorities allege Porter shot 31-year-old Jerry Perdomo of Orange City, Fla. in late February and dumped his body on remote family property in the town of Newburgh.

Police say Porter told them he owed Perdomo $3,000 for a drug debt. Porter’s attorney has said his client was acting in self-defense.

Porter was arrested Feb. 28 at a rented house in Jackson where police say he killed Perdomo. The body was found the next day.

In an affidavit, police said that Porter and Perdomo exchanged death threats in January.

“Perdomo stated that he observed Porter with a machine gun and that Porter threatened to shoot him and put him through a wood chipper,” according to the affidavit. “Porter stated that Perdomo threatened to cut off his hands and kill him.”

In a February interview from her home in Orange City, Fla., Perdomo’s wife, Tonya, described the father of 3- and 10-year-old children as “a dedicated dad. He helps people out a lot.”

The 31-year-old firefighter told his wife he was going to see friends in Maine, which she said was not unusual because he had friends from all over.

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