An Oakland man pleaded not guilty today in San Francisco Superior Court to a 2003 murder of a San Francisco man in the city’s Tenderloin District.Joevon Bowen, 31, was arrested last week and faces one count of murder in connection with the Feb. 19, 2003, fatal shooting of 26-year-old Armando Arce.Arce was shot at about 3:30 a.m. near Willow Alley and Polk Street, after two other men were murdered hours earlier in Oakland in an apparent gang initiation rite. “At this point, it looks like the evidence shows this is first-degree murder,” prosecutor Harry Dorfman said today.In addition to pleading not guilty to murder, Bowen also denied a special allegation of firearm use that could add another 25 years to life to any life sentence for murder, if he is convicted, according to Dorfman.Bowen was long suspected of being involved in Arce’s killing, but San Francisco prosecutors declined to charge him until recently, following the 2008 conviction of another man in Alameda County for his role in Arce’s shooting, as well as the Oakland murders. Monterrio Davis, of Oakland, was convicted in Alameda County in 2008 of three murders, for his role as a lookout in Arce’s murder in San Francisco, and for the killings of two men in Oakland hours earlier, on Feb. 18. Davis, 25, was later sentenced to life in prison.Alameda County prosecutors said Davis, Bowen and others had been part of a plan to start a new branch of the “Nut Cases,” a notorious Oakland street gang that became weakened in early 2003 when many of its leaders were arrested. The Feb. 18 and Feb. 19, 2003, murders were considered a test of their dependability and loyalty, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero said during Davis’ trial.Dorfman said today that his office has not at this time filed any gang charges against Bowen, in connection with Arce’s killing.Bowen is scheduled to return to court Oct. 16 for a scheduling hearing.According to Arce’s aunt, Alice Arce, Armando had been living in that area on the edge of the Tenderloin at the time, but had been planning to move to Union City before he was killed.
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