TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In Rensselaer County Court on August 2, 33-year-old Robert Fisher pleaded not guilty to the rape and murder of a 3-year-old. He walked into court in handcuffs, facing a full courtroom that included about a dozen first responders.

Investigators said they responded to the scene, on Broadway in Rensselaer, shortly after 7:00 a.m. on Jul. 7 to a 911 call about a child in distress. They said it was immediately clear something was wrong, took the child to Albany Medical Center, where they were later pronounced dead by, what prosecutors called, “homicidal violence.”

Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly said that Fisher is believed to be the romantic partner of the child’s mother. The mother called 911 the morning of July 7. Prosecutors explained that they think that she was home, woke up, and called police.

While investigators were on scene, they said Fisher attempted to get back into the home telling them he needed to get cigarettes. Those investigators said they believe he was attempting to interfere in the investigation.

Donnelly said there is voluminous discovery in this case, including DNA evidence linking Fisher to the three-year-old child. Prosecutors and investigators said this was a difficult and disturbing case to investigate, one that required collaboration with multiple agencies.

“This has been absolutely heinous and horrific, something that the normal investigator, the normal prosecutor doesn’t anticipate so it’s been very hard for everyone,” Donnelly said. “The innocence of the child, the brutality of the act, which we can’t comment on specifically at this point, but it’s very disturbing to everyone and this is a case which has everyone’s focus.”

Fisher was remanded to the Rensselaer County Sheriff without bail because of his extensive criminal history, including a prior violent felony conviction, multiple misdemeanor convictions, probation violations and a history of failing to appear in court.

Fisher faces 25 years to life in prison.