A man who police say was captured on video stabbing a homeless man to death in downtown Los Angeles is facing a charge of first-degree murder while a woman also arrested in connection with the killing has been released and won't face charges, officials with the L.A. County District Attorney's Office told KTLA Friday.
The Nov. 6 killing was captured on graphic surveillance video that shows 58-year-old Fernando Perez being repeatedly stabbed by another man until he falls to the ground. The man believed to be the assailant, Fred Scott Johnson, 23, was arrested on Dec. 22 after police released video of the killing with the offer of a $50,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest and conviction.
Some of the videos released by police show a woman walking with the suspect through different parts of downtown L.A. before and after the brutal slaying, authorities said. The woman is believed to be Savannah McKinley, 28, and she was arrested along with Johnson.
Johnson was charged with murder on Dec. 26 but McKinley was released that same day, a spokesperson for the DA's office told KTLA.
She was initially taken into custody on suspicion of accessory to murder after the fact, the DA's office said. But prosecutors declined filing charges against her due to insufficient evidence.
Johnson and McKinley, both described as transients, were tracked down and arrested in Anaheim through an anonymous tip given to police, authorities said.
Their arrests came more than a month after the killing.
Perez had been hospitalized at California Hospital Medical Center after paramedics responded to an area along Ninth Street, between Hope Street and Grand Avenue, about 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 6. Video shows the suspect suddenly lunging at him as he sits on a bench, stabbing him until he falls down. The suspect then picks up a backpack near the bench and walks away.
Robbery has been mentioned by police as a possible motive but it's still unclear what exactly led up to the killing.
"There was no particular exchange or interaction between the two," said Jason Sharman, a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.
"We didn’t find witnesses to this, but the majority of our evidence is going to be captured on video," Sharman said a few days before police found and arrested Johnson and McKinley.
KTLA's Melissa Pamer contributed to this report.