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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 2:21 pm | Fair 63º


Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Slaying of Homeless Man on Santa Barbara’s Eastside

A homeless man suspected of killing another man living on the streets on Santa Barbara's Eastside last month entered a not-guilty plea in court on Thursday.

Enson Junior Lopez

Enson Junior Lopez, 32, was taken into custody Feb. 27 on murder charges related to the death of Ian Justin O’Brien Nichols, 40, whose bloody remains were found up against a MarBorg Industries building in the 100 block of North Quarantina Street, according to Santa Barbara police.

Police responded to the scene just before 7 a.m., when first responders were dispatched for a medical emergency. 

Nichols' body had been discovered by a passerby in the area, who notified a MarBorg employee, who called police.

Lopez was located in the 800 block of Cacique Street several hours after Nichols' body was found, and police said both men were homeless.

The incident is believed to have occurred during the late-night hours Thursday or early Friday after some sort of altercation occurred between the men.

Police have not released any new information on the murder.

On Thursday, Lopez appeared in Santa Barbara Superior Court with his attorney, Mark Owens.  

Lopez entered a plea before Judge Thomas Adams, and is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing setting on March 25, according to prosecutor Mary Barron.

Lopez's bail remains set at $1 million.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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