SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A gang member accused of "sucker-punching" a man on a Gaslamp Quarter street last month, resulting in his death, pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder.
Mahad A. Ahmed, 23, was ordered held on $1 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Vasel alleged that Ahmed struck 25-year-old Michael Louis Beaver in the head from behind after six people from the defendant's group got into an argument with Beaver, his brother and a friend in the 500 block of F Street about 1 a.m. on June 15.
Vasel said Beaver was taking care of his brother -- who was getting sick -- when a female from the defendant's group slapped Beaver in the face.
"Another male in the (defendant's) group punches the victim, and while the victim is completely unaware of the defendant, who is standing back with three other males, (the defendant) just runs up and punches him (Beaver) right on the side of the head, killing him," Vasel alleged outside court.
The prosecutor said a witness heard the victim's head strike a metal rail as he fell backward from Ahmed's punch.
"It is very clear that at the time the defendant hit the victim, the victim had no idea it was coming," the prosecutor told reporters. "It seemingly came out of nowhere."
Surveillance cameras captured the altercation on video, Vasel said.
Several hours later, Ahmed was arrested for an alleged probation violation following a disturbance at a lounge in City Heights, Vasel said. She said Ahmed's clothes were impounded, and Beaver's blood was found on the defendant's shirt.
Ahmed was in custody when he was re-arrested in connection with Beaver's death on Thursday.
The defendant faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.
A status conference was set for July 21 and a preliminary hearing for July 25.