A man on Monday pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting of a handyman near Modesto Junior College last week.
Joshua Alexander Stewart, 24, appeared in court for the first time since his arrest. Stewart is accused of shooting 51-year-old Kirk Lund, who died at a hospital.
Stewart entered the courtroom Monday afternoon wearing a red-and-white jail jumpsuit and shackles on his wrists and ankles. The judge appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent him.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Marie Silveira set Stewart’s bail at $2 million. She scheduled the defendant to return to court May 28 for a pretrial hearing.
It’s unclear whether the defendant and Lund knew each other before the shooting, and what motive might have led to Lund’s death.
Prosecutors on Monday filed a criminal complaint against Stewart, which formally charges him with murder and with being a felon in possession of a gun. Initially, Stewart was booked at the jail on an additional charge of robbery, but no such charge was listed on the filed complaint.
Stewart also faces enhancements to his charges, which allege he committed premeditated murder and used a gun in Lund’s death. The defendant also denied those enhancements.
Lund was shot at 11:14 a.m. Thursday in the 1300 block of Leonard Avenue, near the college’s east campus and Tully Road.
Modesto police officers arrested Stewart after responding to a report of the shooting. Witnesses gave police a description of the gunman; officers saw a man matching that description walking away from the area and followed him.
Authorities say Stewart ran around a corner and down Tully Road, throwing a gun onto the roof of a convenience store at Tully and Coldwell avenues before police captured him.
Lund worked as a handyman for a real estate company that owns an apartment complex in the area. Stewart lives in a different apartment complex down the street.