LOS ANGELES — A 43-year-old man pleaded not guilty today after being ordered to stand trial for allegedly carjacking and kidnapping a man waiting for his wife outside of the UCLA Public Health building.
Jason Levi Garza of Santa Monica was arraigned after being held to answer on June 28 for one count of kidnapping for carjacking, carjacking with a firearm, kidnapping, criminal threats and assault with a firearm.
On Oct. 3, 2016, Garza allegedly kidnapped the victim at gunpoint, ordered him to drive to a second location and then forced the victim into the vehicle’s trunk, the prosecutor said. According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, the defendant drove around for more than six hours before releasing the hostage in a desolated area of Castaic.
The victim was able to get help after walking for about 1 ½ hours to a freeway call box, the prosecutor added. Garza was tracked down and arrested on Oct. 13, 2016.
The defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole if convicted as charged. Bail is set at more than $2.1 million.