Man held in killing of handyman pleads not guilty

The homeless man accused of killing a handyman at a vacant home in Costa Mesa pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Christopher Ernest Leovy, 34, is charged with killing John Kubat, a 54-year-old Costa Mesa resident, who was working on renovations at a soon-to-open sober-living home on Hamilton Street in Costa Mesa.

Leovy allegedly bludgeoned Kubat to death when he showed up to work Sept. 9.

Leovy, who has remained in custody, was arraigned Wednesday morning at Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.

He pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of battery on a police officer, in addition to the murder charge, according to court records. Police say Leovy ran from them and then became combative when they took him into custody Sept. 11.

Detectives earlier identified Leovy as a person of interest and tracked him down at Wilson Park, police said.

Leovy was known to be a transient who came to Costa Mesa from Los Angeles and may have been a client at a local sober-living home before becoming homeless, police previously said.

When Kubat showed up to work on Hamilton Street, a confrontation ensued between him and Leovy that ended in the killing, according to police.

Detectives say they don't know what might have sparked the fight, nor do they know of any previous connection between the two men, police said at the time of the arrest.

The public defender assigned to Leovy could not be reached for comment.

Leovy remains in jail on $1-million bail.

He is due back in court Sept. 26.

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