Not guilty plea for man charged in LA store standoff death
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man charged with the death of woman killed during a Los Angeles store standoff has pleaded not guilty to murder.
City News Service says a judge entered the plea Monday for 28-year-old Gene Atkins, who’s representing himself on 51 counts of murder, attempted murder and hostage-taking.
Atkins pleaded insanity but the Los Angeles judge disallowed it, telling Atkins he’d been found competent enough to be his own attorney.
Prosecutors say Atkins tried to kill his grandmother and kidnapped his girlfriend in July before ending a police chase with a shootout and holing up inside a Trader Joe’s store in the Silver Lake neighborhood.
Authorities during the gun battle, a police bullet killed 27-year-old Melyda Corado, an assistant manager.
Atkins allegedly held dozens of people hostage before surrendering hours later.