A high school cheerleader fought back tears Monday as she pleaded not guilty to helping a pair of brothers who allegedly beat a homeless man to death during an April robbery near San Diego.
Hailey Suder, 18, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of being an accessory after the fact in the shocking murder, Tanya Sierra, spokeswoman for the San Diego County district attorney’s office, told the Los Angeles Times.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported last week that Suder is the girlfriend of one of the two brothers who are charged with killing George Lowery, 50. However, it’s unclear what role she played in the man’s death, or which brother she was dating.
Police said that on the evening of April 24, Lowery's wife, who lived with him in a makeshift camp in El Cajon, found him unconscious in a field, with injuries to his upper body. Lowery, who also had been tied up and robbed, was admitted to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he died four days later.
Police arrested Austin Larry Mostrong, 21, and 19-year-old Preston Autry Mostrong, on suspicion of committing the assault. The two pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and torture.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Suder was a senior and cheerleader at Santana High School. Catherine Martin, spokeswoman for the Grossmont Union High School District, told the paper that she didn’t graduate with her class last month.
Katey Torres, Lowery’s daughter, told the Times that her father was a generous man who suffered a stroke and two brain hemorrhages due to the beating.
“Although he did not have much, he was always giving,” she said. “Anyone he came across loved his personality and he was always talking to people. Anyone he saw that needed help or just needed a smile he'd be there lifting your spirits. If someone was in need he would do what he could to help, no matter how hard the task. If he came across good fortune, he shared it.”
Suder was ordered held on $100,000 bail and faces three years and eight months in prison if convicted, Fox 5 San Diego reported.
She has a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 5.