Tenderloin murder suspect pleads not guilty 

A San Francisco man accused of fatally stabbing an acquaintance during a dispute at his apartment early Saturday pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday.

Phuc Van Le, 42, was arrested after he called 911 at 1:12 a.m. and led officers to his apartment in the 600 block of Ellis Street in The City's Tenderloin neighborhood.

Tuan Nguyen, 36, of San Francisco, was found inside the apartment, dead of a single stab wound to the chest.

Police said that when Le met them on the street outside, he had blood on his hands and clothing.

According to prosecutors, Le, Nguyen and two other friends had been drinking inside the apartment when an argument began, possibly over marijuana. Nguyen was stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Le, a Vietnamese immigrant who works as a floor refinisher, has no prior criminal history. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge today through an interpreter.

Le remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail and is due back in court March 11 to set a date for a preliminary hearing to decide if the case should go to trial.

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