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Deadly Fourth of July, Man Charged with Murder After Allegedly Stabbing Strangers in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach
Photo by NBC Los Angeles

A man accused of fatally stabbing two strangers during Fourth of July celebrations in Huntington Beach and injuring three others now faces murder charges, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Logan Christopher Kelley, a 26-year-old from Redondo Beach, allegedly attacked several people after consuming alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs. Prosecutors say he targeted a group watching fireworks around 11 p.m. near the intersection of Pecan Avenue and 16th Street, stabbing multiple individuals with a knife.

Eric Hodges, 42, and William Collins, 47, both residents of Huntington Beach, were killed in the attack. According to prosecutors, Kelley allegedly stabbed Hodges in the heart and Collins in the neck and lung told Fox 11.

In addition to the two fatalities, Kelley is accused of injuring three others: two 35-year-old men and the 68-year-old father of one of the injured men. He also faces charges for allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old boy who tried to intervene. During his arrest, Kelley reportedly used a racial slur and spat on a Huntington Beach police officer.

Kelley faces multiple charges, including two felony counts of murder, three felony counts of attempted murder, one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, and one misdemeanor count of battery on a police officer. The DA’s office has also filed special circumstance allegations, which could lead to sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, Kelley’s arraignment was postponed until July 30.

Despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2019 moratorium on capital punishment, the Orange County DA’s office indicated that Kelley’s charges make him eligible for a special hearing to determine if prosecutors will seek the death penalty. Last week, DA Todd Spitzer mentioned that prosecutors might pursue a death sentence for the suspects involved in the stabbing death of a 68-year-old woman outside a Newport Beach mall.

Spitzer highlighted the randomness of the attacks, stating, “A day celebrating America and all the freedoms we all enjoy turned into deadly chaos at the hands of a stranger. We as Americans should be able to enjoy spending time with our friends and families without worrying about being brutally stabbed in the street in a random attack.”

Huntington Beach’s annual Fourth of July parade and celebration draw large crowds each year. Long-time resident Jack Behimer expressed his shock at the news, saying, “I’ve never experienced that before. I mean, it’s always been kind of a crazy town on Fourth of July, back in the 90s there were some issues down here, but not since then that I’m aware of anyway.”

This tragic incident has cast a dark shadow over what is typically a joyous celebration, underscoring the unpredictable nature of such violent acts.

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