UPDATE: Shopkeeper Murder Suspect Could Face Death

Donald Simpson entered his plea in the Compton Courthouse Wednesday; his co-defendant, Davion Woodspage, is at large, according to a court clerk.

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This article was modified at 4:40 p.m. Jan. 24, 2013 to include information about sentence-enhancing special circumstance allegations. The complaint filed in criminal court is attached to this story as a PDF.

A man suspected in the gang-related death of a Lynwood shopkeeper during an armed robbery pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery and could face the death penalty if convicted of all charges and allegations.

Donald Simpson -- who turned 36 a day before his Wednesday arraignment -- was being held on no bail at the Men's Central Jail, pending a preliminary hearing date setting Feb. 6 in Dept. D of the Compton Courthouse, a clerk told Patch.

He is accused of murder and robbery, as well as sentence-enhancing allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery, murder with a handgun and murder to further the interests of a gang, all special circumstance allegations.

The crime occurred Nov. 20, according to court papers.

The day of the murder, Simpson also allegedly robbed someone named Jose Garcia, and shot at him as well, according to the complaint filed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.

The complaint indicates that if convicted of committing the felonies for the benefit of a street gang, the defendant faces more than 10 years in state prison, over the 25 years to life for the murder charge.

However, the special circumstance allegation of murder during a robbery could net him life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty; the District Attorney's office usually makes the decision whether to seek the death penalty following a preliminary hearing.

Simpson also allegedly committed a lewd and lascivious act upon a 14-year-old girl Nov. 1, according to the complaint; Patch does not name victims of sex crimes, though the child's first name and last name initial are included in the complaint.

His co-defendant, Davion Woodspage, 20, is being held in Sacramento according  and an arrest warrant has been issued for his arrest locally.

Two teenage girls were also arrested in the case and they will be housed at Juvenile Hall.

According to Los Angeles County sheriff's jail records, Simpson has been in custody since December. He and Woodspage both were arrested in the past months on other allegations.

Simpson was already in custody when he was charged with the murder and robbery.

Fore more on the murder, please click here.

Anyone with information on this homicide was asked to call homicide investigators at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be provided by clicking here.  One may also text the letters TIPLA along with the tip to CRIMES (274637). 

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