NORWALK — A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and two others in a rampage at her family's suburban Los Angeles home has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Twenty-six-year-old Joseph Mercado was arraigned Tuesday and faces the death penalty if he's convicted of three counts of murder, attempted murder, child abuse and other crimes.
Prosecutors claim that Mercado shot a lock from the door of the family's Hawaiian Gardens home in a pre-dawn attack in May, then went from room to room firing an AK-47 assault rifle.
He allegedly killed 25-year-old Serena Tarin — the mother of his infant son — along with her father and brother. The woman's brother was wounded.
Authorities say Mercado and Tarin had been locked in a custody dispute over their son.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.