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Man pleads not guilty to murder charge in Metro Red Line stabbing

By Kate Mather

12:18 PM PST, February 7, 2014

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A man accused of fatally stabbing a passenger on the Metro Red Line in East Hollywood last month pleaded not guilty Friday, prosecutors said.

Angelo Correa, 24, has been charged with one count of murder with the special allegation that he personally used a deadly weapon -- a folding knife -- in the Jan. 13 attack, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said. 

Authorities allege Correa got in an argument with the victim, Jose Velazco-Alvarado, 34, the morning of Jan. 13 as the train came to a stop at the Vermont/Santa Monica station.

Homicide Report: A story for every victim

Authorities said a security camera captured a brief verbal exchange between the men just moments before the stabbing.

“There was a verbal exchange,” sheriff's transit Det. Keith Schumaker told The Times. “Then the suspect produces a weapon and lunged toward the victim with a stabbing motion."

“It was something more than a conversation. It wasn’t anything that amounts to provocation. This was nothing like self-defense. There was a sudden attack after a few words," Schumaker added.

A witness later told The Times that the stabbing was "quite traumatic." The woman, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation, said the suspect was acting aggressively and singing "really loud rap music" prior to the attack.

“There was no provocation whatsoever and this kid just stabs the man in the neck,” she said.

Officials said the homicide was only the second on the subway since the line's service began in 1993.

Correa was arrested Jan. 17 after Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators served a search warrant at his North Hollywood home. Officials said an anonymous tip led them to Correa.

Correa, who remains in custody in lieu of $1-million bail, is due back in court March 10.

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kate.mather@latimes.com