A former University of California, Davis student charged in serial stabbings that left two men dead and a homeless woman hospitalized claims he’s innocent.
Wearing an anti-suicide vest and chained at the waist, Carlos Reales Dominguez stood behind plexiglass while pleading not guilty Friday in Yolo County Superior Court to two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with a series in recent stabbings that stunned the college town, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 20-year-old, who was booted from the school for poor academic performance less than two days before the attacks began, briefly spoke to the court to waive his right to a speedy preliminary hearing.
Based on the charges, prosecutors could seek the death penalty in the case, the newspaper reported.
Dominguez remains in custody in the Yolo County jail on a no-bail hold.
Authorities began their investigation on April 27 after discovering the bloodied body of 50-year-old David Henry Breaux, a Stanford University graduate who often slept in Davis’ Central Park.
Breaux had been stabbed to death on a park bench.
No witnesses have come forward in that attack.
Two days later, Karim Abou Najm, 20, a graduating UC Davis student, was fatally stabbed in Sycamore Park while he was biking home from a university event.
A neighbor described the assailant as a young man with curly hair and a thin build who left the scene on Najm’s bike.
On Monday night, a woman in her 60s was attacked while sleeping at a homeless encampment in the city’s downtown.
She was alone in her tent when a person slashed the canvas, reached in and repeatedly stabbed her, authorities say.
Her attacker ran off after she screamed.
She was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where she was recovering after surgery.
Witnesses to the third incident told authorities the attacker wore a black sweatshirt and black track pants with a white stripe.
Dominguez had spotted walking through the park near where Najm was killed on April 29, dressed in an outfit that matched that description.
Police detained Dominguez and said they found a large “hunting-style knife” in his backpack.
The weapon was consistent with one they believe was used in the attack on Breaux.
Several of Dominguez’s family members sat in the courtroom during his arraignment but declined to speak with reporters afterward.
However, during an interview Thursday, Dominguez’s father expressed shock over his son’s arrest, describing him as an accomplished student and athlete at Castlemont High School in Oakland.
“This is inexplicable to me,” he told the Los Angeles Times, adding that he was unaware UC Davis had disqualified his son for academic struggles. “He was so excited to go to Davis. I don’t understand how this could happen.”
Dominguez, who was born in El Salvador, entered the country in April 2009 as an unaccompanied minor, according to the Times.
He was transferred to a family member and his immigration case was closed administratively in April 2012.
This week, the agency placed a detainer to take custody of Dominguez, “should he be released from local custody,” an official told the news outlet.
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