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Alleged Gang Member Pleads Not Guilty in Venice Beating

Apolinar Celestino Lopez, who has prior felonies is currently out on bail. He will appear in court again on Feb. 19.

Screenshot from the Dec. 13 incident.
Screenshot from the Dec. 13 incident.
By City News Service

A reputed gang member pleaded not guilty today to a felony assault charge for allegedly attacking a homeless man with a folding chair and a pipe.

Apolinar Celestino Lopez, 31, is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon. The complaint includes gang and deadly weapons allegations.

The attack -- captured on video and distributed by police during the investigation of the crime -- occurred about 4 a.m. Dec. 13 near Ocean Front Walk and Horizon Avenue in Venice.

The victim suffered a broken arm, as well as a head injury, according to police, who said the attack was unprovoked.

"Although the victim has been homeless at times, we don't believe (the motivation) is an attack on a homeless person,'' Los Angeles police Capt. Brian Johnson said when Lopez was arrested.

The two men knew each other and had some sort of dispute, according to Johnson.

Lopez is free on bail while awaiting his next appearance Feb. 19 at the Airport Branch Courthouse in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors said he has two prior felony convictions for possession for sale of cocaine base in 2004 and 2007.

If convicted as charged, he faces up to 11 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Brenda January 29, 2014 at 02:50 AM
Someone with two prior felonies, who just beat the living hell out of a guy for no reason gets a low enough bail to already be out? Facing a sentence of 11 years and you actually think he is going to show up for court? Boy Judge you judgement was was way off when you set this guys bail. WAY OFF. This was a brutal beating.

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