A 43-year-old man pleaded not guilty to murdering a man who was found with head injuries.
Leslie Dowson is accused of murdering Stanley Burgon on November 21, last year.
Police were called to Rydal Street in Hartlepool following reports of a disturbance.
Mr Burgon, 56, was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where he died three days later.
Appearing via videolink at Teesside Crown Court, Dowson, of St Oswald's Street, Hartlepool, pleaded not guilty to murder.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said both the prosecution and defence had commissioned reports from medical experts to determine the cause of Mr Dowson's death.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton adjourned the case for a pre-trial hearing in the week of July 3, and set a provisional trial date of August 1.
Dowson was remanded n custody.