OAKLAND - An ex-convict pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge stemming from the fatal stabbing of another man at his house in a residential area in Oakland last month.

Jessie James Taylor, 55, a janitor, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on April 14 for a preliminary hearing on the charge that he killed 35-year-old Francis Nwagbo at Taylor's home in the 600 block of 31st Street, near Martin Luther King Jr. Way, shortly after 11 a.m. on Feb. 4.

Taylor, who's being held in custody without bail, smiled and talked to his attorney in court today as he waited for his case to be called.

Taylor got into an altercation with Nwagbo at his home, stabbed Nwagbo and then fled, according to a probable cause statement by Oakland police Officer Roberto Ruiz.

However, police were able to find and arrest Taylor a short time later three blocks away, in the 3100 block of Filbert Street, Ruiz said.

Witnesses identified Taylor as the suspect and officers recovered suspected rock cocaine from him, according to Ruiz.

However, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office didn't file any drug charges against Taylor.

Prosecutors allege that Taylor has two prior convictions for attempted second-degree robbery, one in 1981 and one in 2009, and one prior conviction for attempted grand theft in 1999.

Those previous convictions could increase Taylor's state prison sentence if he's found guilty of murdering Nwagbo.



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