A homeless man accused of randomly slashing the faces of nine people while riding past them on a bicycle pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 10 felony counts.
Lenrey Briones, 19, is charged with seven counts of aggravated mayhem, two counts of attempted aggravated mayhem and a single count of second- degree robbery.
The charges include an allegation that he personally used a knife and that he was convicted last September of attempted arson. Briones is accused of slashing the faces of nine people, including a 13-year-old boy, between March 20 and April 1 as he rode his bicycle in South Los Angeles, South Gate and Lynwood, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The injuries caused permanent disfigurement to seven of the victims, according to prosecutors, who said Briones is also charged with trying to take a purse belonging to one of the victims.
He was detained about 1:45 p.m. last Wednesday near a homeless camp in the 10900 block of Wilmington Avenue in Watts. Officers found a bike nearby that is believed to be the one used in the attacks, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“This suspect has been terrorizing the cities of Los Angeles and South Gate for the last several months,” LAPD Capt. Dan Randolph said at an April 3 news conference at the department’s Newton Station, when police were appealing for help in finding the attacker.
Some of the victims suffered “significant cuttings” in what Newton Station Lt. Raul Jovell called “life-changing events and incidents.”
One woman needed 20 stitches to treat her injury, according to Jovell. Tips from the probation department helped investigators identify and locate Briones, police said.
Briones remains jailed in lieu of $9 million bail and is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom June 13, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial. He could face a potential life prison sentence if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.