Suspect in Cal student death in court

August 26, 2008 11:43:05 AM PDT
Former Berkeley City College student Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield has pleaded not guilty to murder charges for the May stabbing death of University of California, Berkeley student Christopher Wootton in an early morning confrontation on "Greek Row" near campus. Hoeft-Edenfield, 20, who worked at Jamba Juice in Berkeley, entered his not guilty plea on Monday and is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Oct. 27 for a pretrial hearing. Prosecutor Greg Dolge said he hopes that at that time a date will be set for a preliminary hearing for Hoeft-Edenfield, which would determine if there's enough evidence to have him stand trial for the murder. The stabbing happened in the 2400 block of Warring Street in Berkeley, near the Chi Omega sorority house, at about 2:45 a.m. on May 3. In addition to murder, Hoeft-Edenfield is charged with the enhancement clauses of using a deadly weapon, namely a knife, and inflicting great bodily injury. Berkeley police said Hoeft-Edenfield and Wootton, a 21-year-old senior from Bellflower who was about to graduate with a nuclear engineering degree, were part of two larger groups that were involved in a verbal exchange that quickly developed into a physical fight. Wootton's group consisted of fellow members of the Sigma Pi fraternity house. At a hearing last week, Hoeft-Edenfield's lawyer, Yolanda Huang, asked that Hoeft-Edenfield, who has been held in Alameda County jail without bail since shortly after the murder, be granted bail, arguing that he stabbed Wootton in self-defense after warning Wootton and his friends to back off. But Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson denied bail for Hoeft-Edenfield, siding with Dolge, who said he believes murder is the appropriate charge in the case. Dolge said today that Hoeft-Edenfield "could have walked away at any time" and "was as hostile and aggressive as anyone on the other side." He said Hoeft-Edenfield walked away from the confrontation briefly but then came back. "No one from the other side had a weapon or threatened to get a weapon after he (Hoeft-Edenfield) brandished a knife," Dolge said. The prosecutor said that before Wootton was stabbed he made a 911 call, telling police "they're threatening to kill us, please come" and saying that one person was threatening his group with a knife and another was brandishing a bottle. Dolge also said that when Hoeft-Edenfield was interviewed by police, he gave three conflicting versions about what happened. The prosecutor also said that Hoeft-Edenfield went to a friend's house, "took off his bloody clothes, threw them in a washing machine and went to sleep."

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