Man accused in deadly attacks against homeless men released from jail

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Anthony Alexander Padgett via KSWB

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A man accused of carrying out a fiery crime spree in which three homeless men were killed and a fourth was gravely injured has been released from jail, authorities said Monday.

Anthony Alexander Padgett, 36, was arrested Thursday in connection with the deadly crime spree, KSWB reports.

According to KSWB, investigators originally said they were convinced that Padgett was the man seen in surveillance video buying gasoline at a convenience store shortly before the body of the first victim, 53-year-old Angelo De Nardo of San Diego, was found the morning of July 3. An autopsy determined that De Nardo died prior to being set on fire.

Padgett was also accused of severely wounding 61-year-old Manuel Mason shortly before 5 a.m. on the Fourth of July and killing 41-year-old Shawn Longley, whose body was found the same day at a park. Police said he also attacked 23-year-old Dionicio Derek Vahidy last Wednesday. Vahidy died in a hospital Sunday afternoon.

When Padgett was arrested, authorities wouldn’t disclose a suspected motive for the attacks, but said they did not believe there were any outstanding suspects in the case.

Padgett proclaimed his innocence, saying he did not complete the crimes.

He was booked into jail on murder charges and set to be arraigned Monday.

Officials with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office announced Monday that the hearing was postponed and Padgett will be released from jail.

“SDPD has not submitted their investigation to the DA for review and no criminal charges have been filed,” a news release from the district attorney’s office said.

More information on his release is expected Monday evening.

Padgett has previously served time in prison for a 2010 attack on a 49-year-old homeless man, who was also set ablaze, KSWB reports.

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