Man charged with murder in assault that led to victim’s death years later

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who allegedly inflicted severe injuries on another man at a Rolando-area apartment complex, leading to the victim’s death more than 3 1/2 years later, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.

Manuel Lopez, 42, was arrested Sept. 3 on suspicion of murdering Allen Stokes, who was 72 when he died last fall, according to San Diego police.

About 2:30 a.m. on March 12, 2016, Stokes was found unconscious and suffering from extensive head trauma at a residential complex in the 7100 block of El Cajon Boulevard, Lt. Andra Brown said.

Stokes remained hospitalized in a conscious but unresponsive state until his death last Nov. 8.

Police did not disclose the type of fatal injuries suffered by Stokes, a suspected motive for the alleged slaying or what led them to identify Lopez as the purported killer.

During Lopez’s Tuesday afternoon arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Mary Naoom alleged a mallet was used in the killing.

In entering his plea, Lopez told San Diego County Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh, “I’m innocent.”

Lopez was ordered held on $3 million bail and a bail review hearing was set next week in his case.

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