A man with five prior felony convictions pleaded not guilty today to a charge that he robbed and fatally stabbed a man in East Oakland in December.
Matthew Howard, 34, also faces a special circumstance allegation of committing a murder during the course of a robbery for the killing of Zhao Quan Lin, 52, of Oakland, in the 1200 block of East 20th Street at about 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 7.
Howard, who’s being held at the county jail without bail, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on April 28 for a pretrial hearing.
Prosecutors allege that Howard was convicted of second-degree robbery last August and also has four prior convictions for selling, transporting or possessing illegal drugs.
Those prior convictions could increase Howard’s state prison term if he’s found guilty of murdering Lin.