SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Michael Grasso, one of six people facing charges in connection with the death of a homeless man at Alvord Lake in Golden Gate Park, pleaded not guilty today to all charges in his first court appearance.
Grasso, a slim 26-year-old with a mustache and hair dyed black in front and bleached blond in the back who also goes by the name of "Spike," was arrested Tuesday in San Francisco on suspicion of homicide and causing the death of an elder adult, according to police. He remains in custody with bail set at $1 million.
He is one of six people now in custody in connection with the May 24 death of 66-year-old Stephen Williams, whose body was found lying face down in the lake near the park's eastern end by a gardener around 7 a.m.
Prosecutors allege Williams was beaten and tortured over a period of several days before he was knocked unconscious and dumped into the lake.
Four other people have already been charged in connection with Williams' death.
Stephen Billingsley, 19, Niki Williams, 36, Robert Tannehill, 35, and Ian Severa, 23, were arrested in connection with the attack and arraigned
Billingsley, who also goes by "Pizza Steve," has been charged with murder as well as assault, false imprisonment, elder abuse, torture, kidnapping and conspiracy.
Niki Williams, who goes by the alias "Evil," is not charged with murder but faces charges including assault, elder abuse, false imprisonment, conspiracy, torture and kidnapping.
Severa faces charges of murder, conspiracy, torture, elder abuse, assault and kidnapping.
Tannehill, who is also known as Matthew Richards, had his case severed from that of Billingsley and Niki Williams because he declined to waive his right to a speedy trial, according to prosecutors.
He was ordered to stand trial Tuesday following a preliminary hearing on charges including conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, elder abuse and false imprisonment, and will return to court on Sept. 7.
A sixth suspect, 19-year-old Sahmanntha Rundstrom, was arrested Tuesday in Flagstaff, Arizona after a San Francisco District Attorney's Office investigator saw her post on Facebook about being in the area and contacted local police, according to Flagstaff police.
She is expected to be extradited and charged in San Francisco within the next few days.
Bail is set at $1 million for Billingsley, Niki Williams and Severa, and $500,000 for Tannehill.
Billingsley, Niki Williams and Severa are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 28 along with Grasso.
Prosecutors today said they plan to file a motion to consolidate the cases.