Cliffton Styles
Cliffton Styles was on the 2019-20 Aztec football rosters. Credit: San Diego State University

A former San Diego State football player pleaded not guilty this week in the March shooting death of a man out walking his dog in Los Angeles.

Cliffton Kamal Styles, 21, is charged with murder in the slaying of Marcos Sandoval, 52.

He was transferred to California on Aug. 3 following his April arrest in Texas, and appeared in court Tuesday. He remains jailed in lieu of $2.05 million bail, according to jail records.

Styles is due back in a downtown L.A. courtroom Aug. 19 for a bail review hearing.

As the victim walked his dog at about 5 a.m. March 12 near Genesee Avenue and Saturn Street, a dark-colored sedan approached and stopped at the northwest corner of the intersection.

Los Angeles police contend that Styles exited the car, exchanged words with Sandoval and fired multiple shots before fleeing in a car going northbound on Genesee.

Sandoval was discovered about an hour later by a passerby, who called 911. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Detectives determined that Styles had been on the road, traveling from his San Marcos, Texas home to Florida, then driving cross country to Los Angeles.

“Thereafter,” police said, “he traveled to San Diego, returning to San Marcos, Texas.”

That’s where authorities arrested him. At the time of his arrest, police said that he may have been suffering from mental illness.

Styles played football for San Diego State University in 2019 and 2020. Styles played 14 games for the program, 11 on special teams in 2019 and three in 2020.

The linebacker joined the program as a walk-on.

– City News Service and staff reports


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Ellen Bullock