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Man charged with murder in deadly Venice Beach boardwalk crash

Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, is seen in this booking photo from a 2008 arrest in Panama City, Fla.
Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, is seen in this booking photo from a 2008 arrest in Panama City, Fla.

The 38-year-old man accused of deliberately slamming his car through a crowd on the Venice Beach boardwalk was charged Tuesday with murder, along with a bevy of other charges that could land him life in prison.

Nathan Louis Campbell is accused of purposefully driving a Dodge Avenger through the boardwalk on Saturday, killing an Italian woman on her honeymoon and  injuring 16 others.

Handcuffed and dressed in a blue prison jump suit, Campbell pleaded not guilty during his brief court appearance.  His public defender said the crash was an accident and that the Colorado man was profoundly sorry for it.

Along with murder, Campbell also faces 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.  

The frightening scene forced pedestrians to dive for cover as the vehicle ripped through the boardwalk, hitting two mannequins, an ATM and at least three vendors. Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that the car was traveling as fast as 60 mph.

They also told the paper it appeared the driver was deliberately targeting pedestrians.

An autopsy of 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni showed she died from blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. She was the daughter of a former president of a premier Italian soccer club and successful businessman.

Campbell abandoned his car and turned himself in two hours after the hit and run. He was arrested on suspicion of murder and held on $1 million bail.

A motive for the deadly rampage is still unknown.

Media reports reveal Campbell has had a troubled past, including pleading guilty for public drunkenness in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2002 and reckless driving with alcohol in Panama City Beach, Fla., in April 2008.

Sources told The Times that Campbell had relapsed after overcoming a drug and alcohol addiction.

Earlier on Tuesday, members of the Los Angeles City Council pushed for new street barriers to block unauthorized vehicles from getting onto the boardwalk.

All of the 16 injured during the crash had left the hospital by Monday afternoon. The granddaughter of one of the injured said she had bruises covering her body and a concussion.

NBC's Erin McClam and the Associated Press contributed to this report.