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Half Moon Bay farmworker mass shooting defendant Chunli Zhao pleads not guilty to all charges

PIX Now Afternoon Edition 2-29-24
PIX Now Afternoon Edition 2-29-24 07:16

The man accused in a mass shooting at two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms  over a year ago appeared in court Thursday for his arraignment.

Chunli Zhao pleaded not guilty to multiple charges and denied all allegations against him. The 67-year-old is accused of gunning down seven of his co-workers at the two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms in January of last year. 

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe's office announced in January that the county's criminal grand jury charged Zhao on seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. Zhao is also charged with the special circumstance allegation of multiple murder.  

While the judge granted a defense motion to keep cameras out of the courtroom in January, cameras were allowed during Thursday's arraignment. However, they were required not to show the faces of any public officials in the courtroom. 

In January, the nonprofit Ayudando Latinos a Soñar" or ALAS held a pair events to honor the victims who lost their lives the the tragic shooting. A roundtable discussion to address gun violence was held at the ALAS Sueño Center and included speakers Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga,  the founder and Executive Director of ALAS, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation Julian Castro, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Supervisor Ray Mueller, and State Attorney General Rob Bonta. There was also a public remembrance memorial that evening.

Zhao had previously pled not guilty to the charges. 

He remains in custody on a no-bail status and is due back in court in April.

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