A 24-year-old Berkeley man pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder in the attack of a 68-year-old man who was set on fire and badly injured in West Berkeley two weeks ago.

According to Berkeley police, Bradley Marcrum approached the 68-year-old while he was sitting at a bench on Bonar Street at University Avenue and attacked him “unprovoked” on June 28.

Marcrum poured gasoline on the victim and set him on fire, according to Berkeley police Officer Joshua Smith’s account in court documents. Police said multiple community members witnessed the attack and rushed to the victim’s support in the moments after.

After the the assailant fled the area, police said one bystander used water to extinguish the fire while another pulled over to render aid — “likely saving the victim’s life.”

The 68-year-old man was taken to a hospital with extensive burns to his face and neck, according to a narrative from Berkeley police Officer Joshua Smith included in court documents. Berkeley police said the victim is in stable condition at the hospital as of Wednesday.

Police said they identified Marcrum from video surveillance, physical evidence left behind at the scene and interviews with witnesses. High definition images from video surveillance also showed Marcrum buying the gasoline before the attack, according to court documents.

Berkeley police had a warrant for Marcrum’s arrest, but said BART police ultimately used the warrant to arrest him after “contacting the suspect for an unrelated incident.” According to court documents, BART police arrested Marcrum for fare evasion in San Francisco.

The District Attorney’s office charged Marcrum with attempted murder, elder abuse and mayhem, with multiple enhancements on the charges. Marcrum entered a not guilty plea in Alameda County court in Oakland.

Marcrum is currently in custody at Santa Rita Jail with his next hearing set for Aug. 31. He’s being represented by attorney Pamela Ortiz.

Featured image: Zac Farber

Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...