Venice Hotel Owner 'Directed' Murder Of Homeless Man, Prosecutor Says
The owner of a Venice hotel has been charged with murder in connection to the shooting death of a homeless man, with prosecutors arguing that he "aided, abetted and directed" the killing.
Sris Sinnathamby, the 54-year-old owner of the Cadillac Hotel, has been charged with one count of murder, according to a release from the L.A. County District Attorney's Office. If convicted, Sinnathamby faces life behind bars. Sinnathamby was arraigned yesterday and pleaded not guilty. He is set to next appear in court on October 14, according to ABC 7.
Deputy District Attorney Kristin Trutanich argued for Sinnathamby's bail to be set at $5 million, saying that Sinnathamby, who is originally from Sri Lanka, was a flight risk because he and his wife had spent time visiting another country. Trutanich also said that in the surveillance video of the incident, which includes the argument that led up to the shooting, you can see that Sinnathamby "aided, abetted and directed" the murder.
Sinnathamby's attorney, Alan Jackson, argued that the $5 million bail was "patently unconstitutional" and that Sinnathamby was being discriminated against because of his race, pointing out that Sinnathamby is now a citizen of the U.S. He also claimed that Sinnathamby was simply someone who was involved in an argument, not the person who actually pulled the trigger. Jackson argued that his client was simply was at the "wrong place at the wrong time."
Ultimately, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz set Sinnathamby's bail at $1 million, but Sinnathamby must also wear a monitoring device and give up his passport, the L.A. Times reports.
Jascent Warren, 26, was shot and killed by a gunman who remains at large on Sunday at around 2 a.m. in front of the Cadillac Hotel in the 300 block of Ocean Front Walk near Rose Avenue. Warren died at the scene and another victim, described as a black man in his 40s, was shot in the leg and transported to a hospital. His injuries were non-life threatening.
Witnesses said that a fight broke out when homeless people sleeping in front of the hotel were asked to move elsewhere. Ras Whitelion told CBS LA that the Sinnathamby instructed the unidentified gunman to shoot the homeless people saying, "Kill that n—r." The gunman fled the scene after the shootings in an black SUV, and Sinnathamby was injured in a scuffle with some of the homeless people following the shooting.
Friends of Warren said he was a musician who was kind, peaceful and helpful to other homeless people. His friends had nicknamed him "Shakespeare," because he was a writer. His friends also told the Times that although Warren was homeless, he held a job.