Not Guilty Plea in Death of LA Homeless Man Whose Tent Was Set Ablaze - NBC4 Washington
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Not Guilty Plea in Death of LA Homeless Man Whose Tent Was Set Ablaze

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    In this April 19, 2006 file photo, a police car stops near homeless people sleeping in their encampments in the early morning hours in Los Angeles, California.

    A Los Angeles man accused of intentionally setting a tent ablaze on Los Angeles' Skid Row, killing a homeless man, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a capital murder charge.

    The charge against Jonathan Early, 38, includes the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.

    Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Early.

    The 62-year-old victim was identified by the District Attorney's Office as Dwayne Fields, but officials with the Los Angeles Community Action Network -- a group working to combat homelessness and provide services for the poor -- said the victim was Darrell Fields, a longtime Skid Row resident.

    Early allegedly set the tent ablaze near Sixth and San Pedro Streets on Aug. 26 and was taken into custody a short time later. Fields died the following morning as a result of his injuries.

    Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack.

    According to LA CAN, at the time of his death, Fields "was working on numerous projects to elevate the healing power of arts and culture in Skid Row."