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Bail is set at $3 million for two brothers accused of beating a homeless man to death

A judge has ordered two brothers accused of beating and kicking a 50-year-old homeless man to death to be held in jail in lieu of $3 million bail.

Austin Mostrong, 20, and Preston Mostrong, 19, face charges of murder and torture in the killing of George Lowery. They pleaded not guilty this week at separate arraignments in El Cajon Superior Court.

If convicted, they could be sent to prison for life with parole.

Few details about the case were revealed, as neither of the lawyers representing the defendants made arguments contesting the bail set by Judge Daniel Goldstein. The amount could be revisited at a subsequent hearing.

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Deputy Dist. Atty. George Modlin said in court that both defendants made statements to authorities admitting their involvement in the beating, and that Preston Mostrong was arrested at the crime scene.

Witnesses could identify the suspects, and “some video” was taken in the area, the prosecutor added. He declined to elaborate.

Modlin described what happened to Lowery as “brutal” but did not reveal a possible motive. He said evidence presented in court would show that the charges are appropriate.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Lowery’s wife found him unconscious near their camp in Santee last week. He had been kicked and punched repeatedly in the head. Paramedics responding to a 911 call began life-saving measures and rushed Lowery to a hospital. He remained in critical condition until dying Thursday night.

Both defendants were on probation at the time.

Austin Mostrong had been arrested in Santee on April 20 in an assault on two other homeless men. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of battery and resisting arrest and was placed on probation for three years, authorities said.

Preston Mostrong pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge in December 2014 and was placed on probation for three years.

Several of Lowery’s family members and supporters were in court Monday, including two of his four children. Brandi Harris, a family friend, described Lowery as a loving father and a new grandfather who could be fun despite occasions when he fell on hard times.

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Whether he was down on his luck, it didn’t matter, Harris said. “He was still a wonderful man and he’s going to be missed a lot.”

dana.littlefield@sduniontribune.com

Littlefield writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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