Philong Huynh showed little expression as he stood before a judge on Tuesday.
Police released a photo of the 39 year old after he was arrested for connection with the sexual assault and murder of Dane Williams.
"We believe the victim was drugged and sexually assaulted," said Kevin Rooney of the San Diego Police Department.
The body of the 23-year-old Huntington Beach resident was discovered in an alley in San Diego just days after he disappeared in January 2008.
The Hurley international employee was attending a trade show. Authorities say he was last seen leaving a bar.
"He was visibly intoxicated, he was swerving down the sidewalk and actually fell to all fours at one of time," says prosecutor Gretchen Means.
Authorities say Williams was found wrapped in a blanket wearing his clothes from the night before but he was missing his underwear.
Investigators gathered DNA evidence and the break came when another unidentified victim came forward last June.
Police say the man met Huynh in the downtown area, had a drink and Huynh gave the victim what he said was Tylonel.
"He said he had a headache and the defendant gave him two tablets," said Means. "When he woke up he felt extremely sick and disoriented, like Mr. Williams, his underwear was missing. He too was heterosexual."
Authorities allege DNA evidence taken from Williams and the other victim matched that of Huynh.
He lives a block from where Williams' body was found.
An autopsy on Williams was inconclusive. He had more than double the legal limit of alcohol in his system and like the other victim the drug benzodiazepine, which is similar to valium.
Prosecutors say a prescription for the drug was found in Huyhn's apartment.
The defense entered a not guilty plea on Huyhn's behalf, saying he denies the allegations.
He is being held without bail.