James Rutherford is charged with attacking 64-year-old Andrew Saint, who died three weeks after he was allegedly assaulted in Bedlington, Northumberland.
Rutherford, 37, has today made his first appearance at Newcastle Crown Court, via a video-link to HMP Durham.
The murder charge was not put to him but a provisional trial date was set for January 12 next year, with a time estimate of seven days.
He will appear in court for a further pre-trial hearing on September 1.
John Elvidge QC, defending, made no application for bail but said there is likely to be one.
Northumbria Police previously said Mr Saint was found with a serious head injury after emergency services were called to a home, on Pioneer Terrace, Bedlington, at around 7pm on February 23.
He was taken to hospital where he passed away on March 13.
Rutherford, of Pioneer Terrace, Bedlington, was remanded in custody.