A Hawthorne man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge stemming from an alleged road-rage crash that left a motorcyclist dead in Gardena about 13 months ago.
Oscar Villa, 25, is charged in the Dec. 21, 2017, death of Jaylen Ramon Bell Maxwell, 22, of Los Angeles.
Villa was driving near Western Avenue and Gardena Boulevard when he allegedly got into an altercation with the motorcyclist, according to testimony presented at a Jan. 16 hearing in which he was ordered to stand trial.
Villa allegedly followed Maxwell as he drove away and ran over the motorcycle before crashing into a building, according to Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould. Villa was arrested that day by Gardena police and has remained behind bars since then, jail records show.
He is due back in a Torrance courtroom for a pretrial hearing March 14. If convicted as charged, Villa could face up to 25 years to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney's Office.