Gym murder suspect pleads not guilty

A South San Francisco man pleaded not guilty in a Redwood City courtroom Friday to charges that he fatally beat a fellow gym member with a metal bar, according to prosecutors.

Kenneth Osako, 46, entered the not guilty pleas to charges of murder and use of a deadly weapon in connection with the Sept. 17 killing of 43-year-old Diego Galindo of San Bruno.

Police and prosecutors said Osako saw Galindo at the Bally Total Fitness gym at 180 El Camino Real in South San Francisco around 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.

Wielding an 18-inch steel bar used to hold weights, the defendant approached Galindo from behind and struck him in the head with the bar several times before dropping the bar and fleeing, prosecutors said.

Galindo was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he died from his injuries the following day. Officers arrested Osako the day after the slaying with the aid of a special agent from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Prosecutors said witnesses at the gym did not hear any exchange between Osako and Galindo before the attack. However, two days prior to the killing, the victim apparently jokingly asked the defendant’s girlfriend to take a ride on his motorcycle, according to prosecutors.

The motive for the killing remains under investigation. Osako is set to reappear in court on Nov. 21 to schedule a preliminary hearing date.