A man pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and carjacking charges in connection with alleged crimes in a parking garage near MacArthur Park. File photo.
A man pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and carjacking charges in connection with alleged crimes in a parking garage near MacArthur Park. File photo.

A Los Angeles resident accused of running over a 54-year-old man after stealing the victim’s SUV in the Westlake District pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and carjacking charges.

Mitchell Ray Castillo, 36, of Los Angeles, is accused in the Dec. 11 death of Ricardo Mota. He was ordered to return to court on Feb. 9, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Police said the carjacking took place about 6:25 p.m. on the rooftop level of a parking structure near the 600 block of South Carondelet Street just west of MacArthur Park. Mota was pronounced dead at the scene.

[symple_googlemap title=”MacArthur Park Area Carjacking” location=”600 block south carondelet street, los angeles, CA” height=”300″ zoom=”15″]

Detectives said witnesses told them “the victim was involved in an argument and physical confrontation with a male suspect.” Video surveillance caught the suspect driving from the scene in Mota’s gray Nissan Xterra, authorities allege.

Los Angeles police officers spotted Castillo and the stolen vehicle within hours of the killing and arrested him.

Castillo has been convicted of five other crimes outside of Los Angeles County, including for burglary in 2013 and felony criminal threats in 2017, according to the criminal complaint.

He faces 75 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.

–City News Service

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