Fresno man pleads no contest to beating homeless man, killing dog

The Fresno BeeFebruary 28, 2014 

A Fresno man pleaded no contest to felony charges in connection with an attack last month in southeast Fresno that seriously injured a homeless man and killed the man's dog, Snoopy.

Alejandro Alfredo Lopez faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced in Fresno County Superior Court on March 26. Until then, he will be held in the county jail without bail.

On Wednesday, Lopez, 18, pleaded no contest to charges of assault causing great bodily injury and cruelty to animals, court records show.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge of giving false information to police.

Police said Lopez and a juvenile boy punched the unidentified 45-year-old homeless man, threw beer bottles at his head and kicked him near the Mosqueda Community Center at Butler and Maple avenues about 9:50 p.m. Jan. 6.

Lopez and the boy then turned on the man's small dog, Snoopy, who was tucked into the man's backpack. Police said two girls who were with the group yelled at them to stop, but Lopez and the boy continued to kick the dog several times before it died.

The boy was not identified because of laws that protect juvenile offenders. His attorney, Gerald Schwab, said Friday that charges have been dismissed against his 16-year-old client.

According to Schwab, the homeless man had wandered into a park near the Mosqueda Center to use the restroom. Because Lopez and several others in the park were drinking there, "they felt it was a sign of disrespect to intrude on their territory," Schwab said.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6434, or @beecourts on Twitter.

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