A Santa Monica man will stand trial for allegedly kidnapping and carjacking a man outside a UCLA facility in Los Angeles.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Jason Levi Garza, 43, of Santa Monica was arraigned on July 12 for one count of kidnapping for carjacking, carjacking with a firearm, kidnapping, criminal threats and assault with a firearm. He entered a plea of not guilty.
In a press release, the D.A.’s office said Garza allegedly approached the victim on Oct. 3 2016 and ordered him to drive to a second location and then forced the victim into the vehicle’s trunk.
“According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, the defendant drove around for more than six hours before releasing the hostage in a desolated area of Castaic,” said the statement.
“The victim was able to get help after walking for about 1 ½ hours to a freeway call box, the prosecutor added. Garza was tracked down and arrested on Oct. 13, 2016.”
The D.A.’s office said Garza already has a conviction for second-degree robbery in 2011 and he could be sentenced to live in prison if convicted. Bail is set at more than $2.1 million.
The case remains under investigation by the University of California Police Department.
Deputy District Attorney Maria Ghobadi said the defendant is scheduled back for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 10 in Department W81 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch.