Suspect in deadly Venice Beach crash pleads not guilty

The man charged with slamming his car into tourists, killing one, on California's famous Venice Beach Boardwalk pleaded not guilty to murder Tuesday.

Nathan Campbell, 38, is being held on $1 million bail after the horrific incident that killed an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injured 11 others.

In addition to the murder charge, he faces 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon -- his car -- and 17 counts of hit-and-run, according to the Los Angeles prosecutor's office.

A hearing was set for September 4 to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. If he is found guilty, he could get a life sentence.

Witnesses of the crash, which occurred at around 6:00 pm local time (0100 GMT) on Saturday, said the driver of the high-powered Dodge Avenger appeared to deliberately aim at pedestrians.

The driver of the car allegedly fled the scene immediately after the crash. The suspect later turned himself in for questioning at Santa Monica police station where he was formally arrested.

Italian woman Alice Gruppioni, 32, died following the crash, coroner's investigator Kristy McCracken said.

An autopsy revealed she had died from trauma to the head and neck and her death was ruled a homicide, the Los Angeles medical examiner's office said.

Witnesses to the crash described a chaotic scene, with some estimating the car was going as fast as 60 miles (100 kilometers) an hour when it plowed through the crowd, though others thought it was slower.

Venice Beach boardwalk is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles, and is packed daily with visitors browsing shops and stalls.

It is also home to "Muscle Beach", an outdoor gym set beside the Pacific Ocean popular with bodybuilders.

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