WORCESTER - A Sterling man charged with murder in a fatal stabbing was held without bail after pleading not guilty Friday in Worcester Superior Court.

Allen F. Fawe, 25, of 16 Wilder Road, Sterling was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge in the Oct. 1 stabbing of 39-year-old Jeffrey Joyce of Clinton during a party at 16A Wilder Road, Sterling. Mr. Joyce, who was stabbed in the torso and face, died Oct. 15 at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Mr. Fawe was indicted on the murder charge Dec. 21, moving his case from Clinton District Court to Worcester Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney John H. Melander Jr. told Judge Daniel M. Wrenn that he and Mr. Fawe's lawyer, Michael G. Cashman, were in agreement that Mr. Fawe be held without bail without prejudice, which would allow for a future bail hearing in the case. Judge Wrenn ordered Mr. Fawe held without bail without prejudice and continued his case to Feb. 22.

On Oct. 2, after an initial interview with police, Mr. Fawe told investigators he had lied about his involvement in the stabbing and that he intervened in a fight involving his friend, Timothy Troy, Mr. Joyce and Crystal Troy, who was trying to break up the altercation. The fight had spilled onto a grassy area outside the apartment building, according to a police report.

Mr. Fawe told police he reached around Mr. Troy and stabbed Mr. Joyce in the chest area, before slashing him in the face, according to court documents. He later recanted and said he only stabbed Mr. Joyce in the face, according to the police report.

Mr. Troy, 30, of 29 Tahanto Road, was indicted on a charge of assault and battery on Mr. Joyce and will be arraigned on Jan. 18.