A man accused of gunning down a 39-year-old mother of five as she worked alone in a South Los Angeles store in September pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.
Eric William Atkinson is due back in court Nov. 25, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
The murder charge carries special circumstance allegations of robbery and personal use of a firearm. Prosecutors could seek the death penalty in the killing of store clerk Martha Sanchez on Sept. 17.
Atkinson, 31, has a history of narcotics and theft-related crimes, and is accused of killing Sanchez while she was working at Happy Bargain, a South L.A. discount store on Broadway. Los Angeles police say Atkinson shot Sanchez multiple times around 8:50 p.m.; she died less than an hour later.
Sanchez was married and a mother of five children.
Atkinson is being held without bail.