A 26-year-old man suspected of driving the car from a which a woman fell to her death on the 210 Freeway appeared in court Monday on a murder charge.
Ricardo Jimenez of North Hollywood had turned himself in a day after the Los Angeles Police Department said officers were searching for him in the death of Maria Josefina Jimenez, 22, who was not related to the suspect.
At San Fernando Superior Court Monday, the judge entered an automatic not guilty plea for Jimenez, telling his attorney a formal plea was expected from the defendant at a Nov. 21 hearing.
Bail for Jimenez was set at $1.02 million, according to Shiara Davila-Morales, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The victim, who police said went by “Josie,” died after she fell from a wildly careening car on Aug. 29 in Sylmar, according to the LAPD.
A driver stopped to try to help Jimenez, but she was hit by passing vehicles multiple times even as the car in which she had traveled drove away, police said.
The victim, identified in the prosecutor’s charging document as “Maria J.,” and the suspect were “in a dating relationship,” according to the DA’s office.
The two had had an argument at a tattoo parlor just before the incident, the LAPD had said.
“We have multiple sources who have come forward, putting Rick and Josie at a local tattoo parlor before midnight, with Rick causing a disturbance and berating Josie in front of others,” Lt. Paul Vernon said in a news release issued Aug. 30. “We know Rick was driving Josie’s red Toyota Corolla when the two left the parlor.”
A “key factor” in the arrest of Ricardo Jimenez for the alleged murder was the “amount of blood present on the passenger side” of the car, the LAPD’s Mission Station said on Twitter Saturday.
The criminal complaint against the suspect includes the special allegation that he used a knife, according to the DA’s office.
If convicted as charged, Ricardo Jimenez faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison, the DA’s office said, adding that police are still investigating the death.
Jimenez’s next court date was scheduled for Nov. 21.