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 7am on May 5.
The accused appeared before the Fresno County Superior Court on 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.