Two brothers in San Diego are facing torture charges after they allegedly beat, hogtied and doused a homeless man in alcohol before sinking him face-down into mud.
Siblings Austin Larry Mostrong, 21, and Preston Mostrong, 20, are accused of beating 50-year-old George Lowery to death in Santee, California, in April 2016, in what was described as a "horrific" attack.
Lowery was discovered by his wife unconscious, face-down in the mud and was said to be doused in alcohol.
He had been so badly beaten that his brain had swelled inside of his skull.
The victim had also been robbed during the attack. He was taken to the nearby Sharp Memorial Hospital for treatment, but died five days later.
Although the brothers' lawyers argued that the attack was carried out in self-defense, the judge refused to accept the justification.
"There's murder and then there is what happened here," Deputy District Attorney George Modlin said Friday (12 May). Prosecutors have alleged that the murder was a revenge attack after Austin Mostrong's pellet gun was taken, a claim that the brothers have denied.
The brothers pleaded not guilty to the initial charges of murder, torture and kidnapping. They are being held on $3m bail.
Co-defendant Hailey Suder, 19, has been charged with being an accessory. Suder was Austin Mostrong's girlfriend at the time of the fatal beating. The case is scheduled for trial beginning in October.