"Not guilty," 43-year-old Gary Scott Holland told San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lucy McCabe this morning during his arraignment.
Holland is accused of posing as a utility worker in order to gain access to 46-year-old Kathleen Horan's apartment at 900 Chestnut St. on the night of Oct. 29.
During a struggle, Horan was killed with a pry bar and a knife, prosecutors allege. Her body was found inside the apartment early the next morning.
Prosecutors have said Holland's DNA links him the crime, and that he "made admissions" to police.
Holland was arrested Nov. 5 at Sutro Heights Park in the Outer Richmond neighborhood.
He had been released from prison earlier this year after serving 11 years of a 13-year-sentence for attempted murder in Fresno County, authorities said.
Holland, shackled and dressed in a red jail uniform, lowered his head as he walked past members of Horan's family who attended today's brief hearing.
Confident that the case would be proved, Assistant District Attorney Braden Woods told reporters following the hearing, "We have all the information that we need."
Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young, who was just appointed to represent Holland, said she was just starting to review evidence in the case and declined to comment about a possible defense.
Responding to a question about whether her client understood the charges against him, Young said, "It's unclear at this point."
A psychiatric evaluation of Holland has not yet been ordered.
According to Young, Holland had been working in construction as a concrete pourer at the time of his arrest.
Holland remains in custody without bail and is due back in court Dec. 8.