This February, Daniel Wright-Fresco, the homeless man who serves as the unofficial security guard of downtown DIY venue the Smell, was arrested. He was charged with the crime of making "criminal threats" after allegedly threatening Ignacio Nava, an employee at a used car dealership nearby. Nava had claimed Wright-Fresco flashed a knife held in the waistband of his pants after verbally assaulting him.
Before the date of his trial (which was set for July 4, 2014), Wright-Fresco accepted a deal with the District Attorney's office. He pled guilty to possession of a knife, but not guilty to the charge of criminal threats — a non-strike offense. He was sentenced to serve 486 days in prison.
As of October 10, however, Wright-Fresco is a free man.
He was released early, partially due to time served while waiting for his trial. And, in predictable Daniel fashion, he is already back at his post, dutifully guarding the Smell. This time, he's traded in his baggy clothes for a snazzy purple silk shirt.
"He looks good," says Jim Smith, owner of the Smell. It's true: One look at the before and after photos shown here and the difference is clear.
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An event to celebrate Wright-Fresco's return is currently being planned around his birthday on December 22. There are also plans to stage a play about the 44-year-old's life, his mysterious history, and how he came to be a symbol of the Smell, and in turn, the Los Angeles DIY community.
But you don't have to wait until December to welcome him back — he'll be outside the Smell every night, just like he has been for the last 13 years.