Washington, May 30 (IANS) The transient accused of brutally attacking an 81-year-old Sikh man outside a gurdwara in the US May 5 has pleaded not guilty of attempted murder and elderly abuse.
Gilbert Garcia, 29, was arrested for brutally attacking Piara Singh with a steel rod outside the Nanaksar Sikh gurdwara on South Cherry Avenue, southwest Fresno, in central California around 7 a.m. May 5.
The accused appeared before the Fresno County Superior Court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges, which the Fresno County District Attorney's Office described as a hate crime, the Fresno Bee reported.
Garcia, who was arrested around an hour after the attack that left Singh with broken ribs, lung lacerations and head wounds, has a record of arrests in the Fresno area.
Garcia is being held in lieu of a bail of $1.7 million and a hearing has been scheduled for June 26.
The newly-formed American Sikh Congressional Caucus is pushing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the case as a hate crime.