Four teenagers were charged Tuesday with murder and torture in connection to the beating and death of a man near Petco Park last month, according to Deputy District Attorney Mary Loeb.
Dominick Wells was one of four teens arrested after Edward Starland was found unresponsive downtown near the pedestrian bridge that connects Park Boulevard over Harbor Drive on Nov. 19.
Starland, 56, died two weeks later.
“Torture is not a very common charge, but we believe the facts of this case supported the charge,” Loeb said.
When asked what prompts a torture charge, Loeb said if the injuries were inflicted for a “specific, sadistic purpose.”
The charge alleges Wells, 19, hit Starland, giving him a head injury that resulted in him being comatose.
A witness said Starland and the group of teens were arguing when he was pushed to the ground and attacked, according to Lt. Matt Dobbs. The teens took off when the witnesses yelled at them.
No weapons were used in the beating, according to the deputy district attorney.
Starland was a homeless man, and his family lived out of town. They visited him while he was in the hospital.
“They want to see justice for him,” Loeb said.
The other teens allegedly involved in the attack are girls, aged 14, 15 and 17, according to SDPD’s investigation. Their information has not been released at this time.
The bail was set at $1 million for each teen, Loeb said.
If tried and convicted as an adult, Wells could face 25 years to life in prison.
It is not clear at this time if the four teens will be tried as adults, Loeb said, but “it is possible.”
Wells pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Source: NBC San Diego