LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 19-year-old ex-convict who prosecutors say slashed the faces of nine people as he rode through the streets of Los Angeles and surrounding communities on a bicycle was charged on Friday with aggravated mayhem and attempted robbery, prosecutors said.
Lenrey Briones, who was taken into custody earlier this week in the attacks, which disfigured seven of his victims and left parts of America’s second-largest city on edge, faces a possible sentence of life in prison if found guilty.
Briones did not enter a plea to the charges during a brief initial appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday where he was ordered held on $9 million bail, said Paul Eakins of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
It was not clear if Briones had an attorney. He was serving three years probation for a September 2018 arson conviction at the time of his arrest, Eakins said.
Briones is accused of slashing the faces of nine people, seemingly at random, as he rode a mountain bike through Los Angeles, South Gate and Lynwood between March 20 and April 1. Victims included men, women and a 13-year-old boy, prosecutors said.
He was charged with seven counts of aggravated mayhem, two counts of attempted aggravated mayhem, and one count of attempted robbery, with allegations that he used a dangerous weapon in commission of the crimes and attempted to steal a purse from a female victim.
Briones was taken into custody shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday near a homeless camp in the city where a bike resembling the one used by the slasher was found.
Los Angeles police officials say they were tipped off to Briones after releasing photo and video images of the suspect in attacks, which often took place in broad daylight.
The latest two slashings occurred on Monday when officers responding to a radio call at around 8:40 p.m. found a man suffering from a severe wound to the left side of his face. About 15 minutes later, a young woman was cut by the same assailant.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Leslie Adler