PORTLAND — The man accused of killing the mother of his children and a longtime friend in July pleaded not guilty to murder charges today in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Joel Hayden, 29, is accused of shooting 27-year-old Renee Sandora of New Gloucester and 28-year-old Trevor Mills of New Bedford, Mass., outside her home. The couple’s 7-year-old son witnessed the shootings, according to a police affidavit.

During the arraignment, Hayden only said “not guilty” when Justice Nancy Mills asked how he would plead to each of the charges.

Hayden’s hands were cuffed in front of him and he used them to shield his face from the TV and still cameras in the courtroom.

After the proceeding ended, he made an obscene gesture toward a news photographer. As he was led out of the courtroom, he told Sandora’s family, “Tell my kids I love them.”