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Homeless man charged in Burbank hatchet threat has murder and assault convictions

A 42-year-old homeless man who was convicted of murder nearly two decades ago was charged Friday with threatening another homeless man with a hatchet at McCambridge Park in Burbank, officials said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Leo Jason Cox yelled and cursed at and held a hatchet over the head of a 54-year-old man who had just gotten out of his car near the park, according to Burbank police and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

After a verbal exchange, Cox walked away, authorities. The alleged victim told police that he and the suspect didn’t know each other and hadn't had an altercation, said Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco.

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With the help of a police helicopter, officers found Cox beside a nearby Carl’s Jr. restaurant, where they ordered him to drop the hatchet before taking him into custody. 

Cox was charged Friday with one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors are requesting that he be held in lieu of $1 million bail.

In 1998, Cox was convicted of murder in Gainesville, Fla., and in 2014, he was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Dallas.

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If convicted of the latest charges he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

Alene Tchekmedyian writes for Times Community News.

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

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