BURLINGTON, VT. >> A judge has upheld an attempted murder charge against a Vermont man accused of urging his girlfriend to jump off a cliff in a drug-induced haze because of an imagined bear attack.

Investigators say Lucas Gingras told 45-year-old Ladonna Merriman that bears were trying to get into the Georgia Mountain cabin where they were staying and he convinced her to jump off a 70-foot cliff last year. The 29-year-old Milton man has pleaded not guilty.

Merriman died in February from an overuse of prescribed medications. The defense said in September Gingras wanted the attempted murder charge thrown out because Merriman is no longer alive to testify.

The Burlington Free Press reports (http://bfpne.ws/1HsPMBd ) a judge denied a motion to dismiss last month. Gingras' attorney declined to comment Monday on the decision.