lady justice 2 16-9

A 36-year-old homeless man was acquitted of manslaughter in the death of a Good Samaritan who attempted to stop the defendant from accosting a 3-year-old boy at a McDonald’s restaurant in Hollywood.

Prosecutors said Good Samaritan Gabriel Ortega saw defendant Jeremy Harris yelling and swearing at the child on the night of June 18.

When Ortega told him to stop and stepped in front of the boy to protect him, Harris allegedly punched the 57-year-old man several times in the head.

Two days later, Ortega was hospitalized. He died on July 14, and the coroner’s office determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Defense counsel argued to the Alhambra Superior Court jury that someone else attacked Ortega and said Ortega had a preexisting brain tumor, found during an autopsy, that led to his death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The boy’s mother and grandmother picked Harris out of a photo lineup but were unsure about some of his physical features, according to The Times.

—City News Service

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