Grocer Pleads Not Guilty in Killing of Teen-Ager

A South Los Angeles grocer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the shooting death of a teen-age customer earlier this month.

Soon Ja Du, 51, entered the plea before Compton Municipal Court Judge Morris B. Jones. Du was arrested in connection with the March 16 shooting death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins. The shooting occurred after Du accused the teen-ager of shoplifting a bottle of orange juice.

More than 150 relatives and friends of Du’s attended the hearing. Bail was set at $250,000.