An ex-felon pleaded not guilty today to charges that he murdered two men in the vicinity of Highland Hospital in Oakland in separate incidents in January and February.
Harold Thomas Smith, 23, is charged for the fatal shooting and robbery of 24-year-old Brandon Clemons in the 2000 block of 14th Avenue on Jan. 16 as well as for the shooting death of Innocent Okoronkwo Jr., 24, in the 2400 block of 14th Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 22.
Smith was charged in early April for Okoronkwo’s death but wasn’t charged for Clemons’ death until May 14.
Smith is charged with murder, robbery, the special circumstance of committing a murder during a robbery and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm for the incident in which Clemons was killed, as prosecutors alleged that he robbed Clemons’ friend.
Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt wrote in a probable cause statement that a witness, apparently Clemons’ friend, told police that Smith was the person who robbed Clemons’ backpack and shot Clemons.
The witness also told police that Smith took his wallet and phone, according to Gantt.
In addition, phone records show that Smith’s cellphone was activated in the area where Clemons was killed shortly before and after the shooting, Gantt said.
In the incident in which Okoronkwo was killed, Smith is also charged with attempted murder for shooting and wounding a 26-year-old man who survived his injuries.
In addition, Smith is charged with unlawful firearm activity for allegedly possessing a firearm because the terms of his probation for his conviction for second-degree robbery in May 2008, when he was a juvenile, barred him from possessing a gun.
Annie Beles, one of two lawyers who represent Smith, objected today to the filing of an amended complaint that charges Smith with both murders in a single case.
Beles said she thinks Beles should be charged separately for each murder because the evidence is different in each case but her objection was overruled by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi.
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