General Crime

* Frank Austin Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering His Girlfriend Vernita Jones

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An Oakland man pleaded not guilty today to murder charges stemming from the stabbing death of his girlfriend in July. Frank Austin, 51, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Nov. 7 for a pretrial hearing. Oakland police said Austin called them shortly before 10 a.m. on July 6 to report that he could not wake up his girlfriend, 50-year-old  Vernita Jones, at the home they shared at the Avondale residential hotel at 540 28th St.

Police said they found signs of trauma on Jones’ body and medical officials pronounced her dead when they arrived at the home. Prosecutors said Jones was stabbed multiple times and apparently had been dead for some time before Austin called police.

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