SAN DIEGO — A carjacking suspect beaten by several witnesses appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to carjacking, attempted kidnapping during a carjacking, felony child abuse and possession of a controlled substance.
Prosecutors say Ismael Hernandez, 21, jumped into a minivan where a woman and her seven year-old daughter waited outside a market in City Heights last Sunday.
According to Deputy District Attorney Cherie Somerville, the keys were in the ignition when Hernandez got behind the wheel and punched the woman in the head and chest.
Hernandez drove forward, hit a pole and the woman started screaming, Somerville said.
The woman’s husband and several other men went after Hernandez, pulled him from the car and started beating him. They held Hernandez on the ground until police arrived.
A bystander took a cell phone video of the beating and citizen’s arrest.
A judge set Hernandez’s bail at $200,000. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison.
Hernandez’s parents were in court and talked with the media.
“I’m sorry for what happened. My son takes medication for depression, but that doesn’t justify what happened,” said Ruth Hernandez, the defendant’s mother.