SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A man suspected of causing serious injuries that left a man in a coma-like state for nearly four years before his eventual death was arrested earlier this month, San Diego police announced Tuesday.
San Diego police said 42-year-old Manuel Lopez was identified by investigators as the suspect in the death of Allen Stokes and was taken into custody on Sept. 3, on suspicion of murder.
On March 12, 2016, Stokes was found unresponsive in an apartment building in the 7100 block of El Cajon Boulevard. Stokes was taken to the hospital for treatment, but his condition never improved.
According to police, Stokes “remained in a conscious, yet unresponsive state, until his death” on Nov. 8, 2019.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Stokes’ death “was the result of injuries received in March of 2016.”
Stokes was 67 years old at the time he was injured. He was 72 years old when he died, police stated.
After Stokes’ death was determined to be a homicide, investigators gathered evidence and spoke to those who knew the victim and eventually identified Lopez as a suspect in the case.
Police said Lopez was booked into County Jail following his arrest.
During Lopez's Tuesday afternoon arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Mary Naoom alleged a mallet was used in the killing.
In entering his plea, Lopez told San Diego County Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh, `"`I'm innocent."
Lopez was ordered held on $3 million bail and a bail review hearing was set next week in his case.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact SDPD’s Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.