One of two probationers accused of fatally beating a 65-year-old Moreno Valley man and dumping his remains in a field pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a kidnapping.
Dillon Clifford Hardy, 22, was arrested in May, along with 29-year-old Victor Mendoza, following a Riverside County sheriff’s investigation into the death of Larry Valverde.
Hardy was arraigned before Superior Court Judge David Gunn, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Aug. 14 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
The defendant is being held without bail at the Indio Jail.
His co-defendant, Mendoza, is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and is scheduled to appear at the Riverside courthouse Thursday for a mental competency hearing.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez, Hardy and Mendoza killed Valverde at a residence in the 23700 block of Sunnymead Boulevard during the early morning hours of May 20. The circumstances and a possible motive were not disclosed.
Ramirez said deputies were called to the location to conduct a missing person investigation and discovered the crime scene.
Mendoza was immediately wanted for questioning, and he was tracked down and taken into custody for an unrelated misdemeanor offense while the investigation continued, according to the sergeant.
Hardy was identified as an alleged co-conspirator several days later and arrested without incident.
Ramirez said Valverde’s remains were found in an overgrown field in the 23100 block of Sunnymead. The body had “obvious trauma” indicative of a deadly assault, the sergeant said.
According to court records, Mendoza has a misdemeanor conviction for domestic abuse and was sentenced last year to three years probation. Hardy has priors for attempted grand theft and petty theft, records showed.
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