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Indian American Pleads Not Guilty to Chasing, Killing 3 Teens

Anurag Chandra (California Highway Patrol photo)

TEMESCAL VALLEY, CA- An Indian American man who was arrested and charged with chasing down and killing three teenagers in Southern California has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Anurag Chandra, 42, was arrested last month on murder and attempted murder charges

As per reports Chandra made the not guilty plea Feb. 21.

In addition to the three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, Chandra faces a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, potentially making him eligible for the death penalty, the report notes.

Chandra appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn, who scheduled a felony settlement conference May 26 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

He’s being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail.

Chandra allegedly killed Daniel Hawkins, 16, of Corona; Jacob Ivascu, 16, of Riverside; and Drake Ruiz, 16, of Corona. A 13-year-old boy, 14-year-old boy and 18-year-old, who was at the wheel of the car that was struck, suffered moderate to major injuries.

According to family members, they were playing a game of “Ding Dong Ditch” in a Temescal Valley neighborhood south of Corona.

They rang the doorbell and ran away before it was answered at what they thought was a friend’s house, reports said.

Shortly after 10 p.m., five of the boys piled into a Toyota Prius parked on Modjeska Summit Road, while another went to Chandra’s residence and rang the bell several times, investigators said. The youth then ran to the Prius, according to the reports.

Instead, it was the home of Chandra. Authorities say evidence shows he “chased after the Prius” in his Infiniti sedan, according to a District Attorney’s Office statement.

CHP Officer Juan Quintero alleged that the defendant bore down on the teens’ vehicle at high speed on Temescal Canyon Road and rammed the car, causing it to spin out of control and slam into a tree, the report added.

Family members told reporters that the boys were fleeing out of fear and were trying to avoid Chandra at the time, according to the report.

Witnesses followed Chandra back to his residence and alerted CHP officers, who arrested him roughly four hours after the collision, it said.

According to court records, he has an unresolved misdemeanor case for alleged battery on a cohabitant and child endangerment, the report said.

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