A man accused in the robbery and beating death of a 71-year-old North Park resident nearly 18 years ago entered a not guilty plea Wednesday.
Lester Roshen Bell, 38, was arrested in Longmont, Colorado, in May and extradited to San Diego to face a murder charge. A special circumstance allegation of murder during a robbery could result in a death sentence or life in prison without parole if he is convicted.
Two other defendants, 38-year-old Edward Jamar Brooks and 36-year-old Terrence Maurice Brown, are also charged in the case.
Brooks was extradited from Charlotte, North Carolina, and is expected to be arraigned soon. Brown is still being held in Tucson, Arizona, awaiting extradition.
Deputy District Attorney David Bost said Bell is accused of wielding a bat in the robbery-murder of LeRay Parkins, who was out walking near his home when he was attacked about 8 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2000.
The victim was found mortally wounded in an alley off the 3700 block of 28th Street, where he lived. He was pronounced dead at a hospital three days later.
During the initial investigation into the slaying, detectives identified Bell, Brooks and Brown as potential suspects but lacked sufficient evidence to arrest them, San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs said. All three of the men eventually relocated to other parts of the country.
Recently, aided by advances in forensic technology, cold-case investigators were able to “solidify the case against the three suspects” enough to warrant charging them for the killing, Dobbs said.
A status conference was set for Aug. 9.
— City News Service
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