[UPDATED:] Marco Rojo Nieto, OC Homicide No. 31: Beaten to Death
UPDATE: DA's statement on Jorge Alejandro Lopez's arraignment paints a much more senseless killing, reveals victim was a married father (see end of post) . . .
Witnesses called Santa Ana Police around 4:30 p.m. Saturday regarding a homeless man lying on the sidewalk in the 300 block of South Bristol Street.
They thought 36-year-old Marco Rojo Nieto was just licking his wounds from a fight.
The fight was actually four hours earlier and Nieto was dead.
According to an Orange County Register report, the witnesses said the resident of a nearby homeless encampment had been drinking and partying with another man on South Bristol near Pine Street around 11 that same morning when a fist-fight broke out.
Nieto was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly before the other man picked up a loose cement block, threw it down on the homeless man's head and ran off, the witnesses reportedly said.
Nieto, who was pronounced dead at the scene, suffered severe trauma to his head and upper torso, police say.
Evidence at the scene supposedly led officers to 33-year-old Jorge Alejandro Lopez, who was arrested Monday after leaving a relative's apartment.
He was booked into Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of murder.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office statement on Lopez's arraignment follows:
July 21, 2010
SANTA ANA MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDERING A MAN WITH 25-POUND CONCRETE PIECE IN HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT
SANTA ANA - A Santa Ana man is scheduled to be arraigned today on murder charges for killing a man by beating him with a 25-pound concrete piece after knocking him to the ground. Jorge Alejandro Lopez, 33, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting the defendant be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment this afternoon, July 21, 2010, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
On July 17, 2010, Lopez is accused of walking up to a transient encampment with a friend and punching Marco Rojo Nieto in the face knocking him to the ground. The defendant is accused of kicking Nieto while he was lying defenseless on the ground before picking up a 25-pound piece of discarded concrete and striking the victim twice, once in the chest and once in the face. The defendant is accused of fleeing the scene in a friend's car.
Witnesses called 911 and the Santa Ana Police Department responded. The victim died at the scene due to blunt force trauma. Nieto was married and had a teenage daughter.
Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
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