OAKLAND -- A 36-year-old man has plead not guilty to murder charges in the 2010 killing of a well-known Oakland tattoo artist.

Michael Redell Smith Jr. was charged in March in connection with the fatal shooting of his former friend and colleague, 45-year-old Montago Bey Joshua, of Hayward. He entered his plea on Monday, according to the Alameda County Superior Court.

Oakland police say Smith and Joshua worked together before they fell out over the business and other issues. They believe Smith shot Joshua on July 30, 2010 outside a barber shop in the 9900 block of MacArthur Boulevard.

Smith, a suspect from the beginning, fled to Oregon after the killing, police said. He has been in jail in lieu of $3 million since he arrested in March after returning to the Bay Area.

Smith is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 25.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.



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