A 27-year-old Sacramento County man was charged with capital murder for the killing of a beloved grandfather and owner of a San Dimas restaurant in 2015, prosecutors said Friday.
Sergey S. Gutsu pleaded not guilty to one count of murder with a special circumstance allegation that the crime was committed during a robbery, making him eligible for the death penalty, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
He also faces one count of second-degree robbery and two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm. The charges include firearm allegations, officials said.
Top news of the day
Gutsu is accused of fatally shooting Pravin Patel, 62, on June 2, 2015, during a robbery of the Quiznos restaurant. He allegedly robbed the business at gunpoint and then shot the victim after being confronted outside, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Dickman of the Organized Crime Division.
The suspect was identified as the suspect in the robbery while he was in custody for a criminal case in Sonoma County, the prosecutor said.
Prosecutors have not decided whether they would seek the death penalty.
Patel was thinking about retiring so he could spend more time with his grandchildren when he was killed, his family said. He was kindhearted and knew his customers by name.
"He wanted to retire and play with his grandkids," said his brother, Satish, at the time. "That was his dream."