Thursday, June 21

Suspect in UCLA kidnapping, carjacking case pleads not guilty

A man accused of kidnapping another man near the Center for Health Sciences building pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and carjacking with a firearm Wednesday morning.

Jason Levi Garza, 43, was charged on July 12 with one count of kidnapping for carjacking, carjacking with a firearm, kidnapping, criminal threats and assault with a firearm, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. University police officers arrested Garza on Oct. 13, 2016.

On Oct. 3, 2016, Garza allegedly held a man at gunpoint while the man waited for his wife outside the Center for Health Sciences building. Garza then ordered the man to drive to another location, where he forced him into the vehicle’s trunk, according to the news release.

Garza allegedly drove for more than six hours before releasing the victim in Castaic, Calif., according to testimony at the preliminary hearing on June 28.

Court records indicate Garza was previously convicted of second-degree robbery in 2011.

Garza faces a possible life sentence in state prison, according to the news release. He is being held in lieu of more than $2.1 million bail. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 10 at the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse.

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City and crime editor

Preal is the assistant news editor for the city and crime beat. He was previously a news reporter for the city and crime beat.

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