Mariana Franco was one of the victims of the August shootings that left 4 dead.

 

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A man who allegedly went on a shooting spree that left four people dead in the San Fernando Valley has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.

Alexander Hernandez, 34, of Sylmar, is charged with four counts of murder for the Aug. 21 killing of Gilardo Morales and the Aug. 24 killings of Gloria Tovar, Michael Planells and Mariana Franco.

He also is charged with seven counts of attempted murder, four counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle, three counts of cruelty to an animal, two counts of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon.

The crimes occurred over a five-day period between Aug. 20 and Aug. 24, according to the criminal complaint.

Hernandez was arrested Aug. 24 after he barricaded himself inside a residence in the area of Polk Street and Kismet Avenue in Sylmar for about an hour, police said. The man who was dubbed a “serial killer” by law enforcement authorities has remained behind bars since then.

Hernandez was initially charged with a series of crimes, including the Aug. 21 shooting death of Morales, 48, who was killed while driving his pickup truck to work in the Pacoima area, along with the attempted murders of a couple allegedly fired upon while inside a vehicle in West Hollywood Aug. 22 and the shooting deaths of two dogs in Pacoima Aug. 23.

In November, prosecutors filed additional charges — including three new murder counts — against Hernandez in connection with the killings of Tovar, Planells and Franco in separate shootings in the San Fernando Valley.

Tovar, 59, was shot to death while in her car in Pacoima while waiting to pick up a friend to go to church, while Planells, 29, was fatally shot while standing in a parking lot in Sylmar. Franco was in a car with her parents in San Fernando when she was shot to death and her parents were injured.

The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and shooting from an occupied vehicle. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.

Hernandez is charged with crimes over a five-day period between Aug. 20 and Aug. 24. The criminal complaint alleges that he has four prior convictions dating back to 2004, including possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Hernandez is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom March 26.