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Transient pleads not guilty to setting Long Beach man on fire

April 16, 2013|By Ruben Vives
  • A man has died after he and his SUV were set on fire outside a 7-Eleven in Long Beach.
A man has died after he and his SUV were set on fire outside a 7-Eleven in Long… (KTLA )

A 38-year-old homeless man suspected of fatally setting a man on fire outside a Long Beach 7-Eleven has pleaded not guilty to capital murder.

Raymond Sean Clark stood behind the inmate holding cell and was not visible to reporters as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James D. Otto read him the charges.

Clark is charged with special circumstance murder and arson causing great bodily injury in the Friday attack that killed Jerry Payne, 63.

No bail was set for Clark, who remains in police custody.

The attack occurred about 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway, not far from Payne's home. Authorities accused Clark of walking up to Payne, who was sitting inside his green Toyota 4-runner at the time, and tossing a flammable substance inside. The vehicle and Payne caught fire.

Long Beach police said several witnesses rushed to Payne’s aid, but not before he was critically injured with burns over most of his body.

Shortly after the attack, Clark was arrested around the corner from the scene. He was initially arrested Friday night on suspicion of attempted murder and on two outstanding warrants. 

Payne was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he had been listed in critical condition until his death Monday. Authorities rebooked Clark on suspicion of murder and presented the case to the district attorney’s office.

Authorities have not established a motive for the attack. They say they are still looking for witnesses.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Long Beach Homicide Dets. Scott Lasch and Donald Goodman at (562) 570-7244. 

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Twitter: @latvives

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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