OAKLAND -- A man on parole for a 2011 Fremont robbery has been charged in the Dec. 7 robbery and fatal stabbing of a man in East Oakland, authorities said.

Matthew Howard, 34, of Oakland, is charged with murder and the special circumstance that the killing happened during a robbery.

He is suspected of killing Zhao Quan Lin, 52, of Oakland, who was attacked Dec. 7 in the 1200 block of East 20th Street, where he had gone to visit friends, police said.

Officer Nick Calonge said police have evidence that Howard followed Lin to the area from another location. He said the motive for the attack was robbery, but police have not been able to determine whether anything was taken.

Police said Howard has denied the killing. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to enter a plea to the charges on Thursday.

Howard was arrested on a parole violation Dec. 20 while police continued to investigate the killing. He was charged Jan. 9.

According to authorities, Howard was arrested in December 2011 by Fremont as a suspect in a series of armed robberies of older Asian victims who were primarily targeted for their gold jewelry.

Authorities said Howard was part of a group of suspects who followed the victims to their homes, usually from stores, and robbed them at gunpoint once they arrived home. He was originally charged with four such robberies.


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In a plea agreement, he was convicted of one count of second degree robbery in August 2013 and after being given credit for time served was released from jail in September 2013, authorities said. Howard also has four other prior felony convictions, all narcotics related, that occurred between 1998 and 2006, authorities said.