Homeless man arrested, charged for Venice beating death of 76-year-old photographer

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John DeCindis, a 76-year-old fashion photographer, was walking his dog in the Abbot Kinney area of Venice last month, when he was brutally attacked, his loved ones say.

Murder and elder abuse charges were filed Thursday against a homeless man for the beating and eventual death of a 76-year-old man who was walking his dog in Venice last month when he was attacked, officials said.

On Feb. 8, John Decindis went to the hospital after he was assaulted while walking his dog, by a man he said he’d previously seen in the neighborhood, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release Thursday. The attack occurred without motive, according to police.

Decindis, a 76-year-old photographer and Venice resident, told a social worker at the hospital that he did not want to file a police report.

Decindis was hospitalized with several fractures and then released from the hospital. But he returned after having difficulty recovering from his injuries, police said.

On Feb. 27, he succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital.

Detectives say they learned about the incident the day after he died in a news article from the Venice Current. Officers completed a death report and launched an investigation.

Through the investigation, detectives learned that the attack occurred in the 1500 block of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, after Decindis was confronted and followed from Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Milwood Avenue. They say Decindis had told others about the assault and had described the assailant.

Decindis’ neighbor of two decades, Lori Mcbrayer, told KTLA last week that he had a “black and blue” face and elbow after the attack.

“He was so me messed up,” Mcbrayer said. “He told me that some guy asked if he knew him on Abbot Kinney, some homeless man. And he said, ‘No, I don’t know you,’ and started to walk away, and the guy just clucked him.”

Decindis had a broken jaw, shattered elbow and hip injuries, Mcbrayer said.

“He kept calling me saying, ‘I’ll be out in a couple days.’ He really didn’t think … it was the last few days that took him out,” his neighbor said.

Detectives canvassed the area of the attack and found a witness and surveillance video from security cameras.

On March 4, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office determined the case a homicide.

Then on March 9, detectives shared still images of the alleged attacker from the security footage and officers spotted the man in the area of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Milwood Avenue. They detained 45-year-old Obie Thompson, a homeless man, and booked him on suspicion of murder.

On Thursday, detectives presented the case and the district attorney filed murder and elder abuse charges, according to police.

Thompson was being held on $2 million dollar bail and was scheduled for arraignment Thursday.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at 213-382-9470.

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