Alleged Half Moon Bay gunman pleads not guilty to 7 murder counts

The man accused of carrying out a deadly shooting rampage in Half Moon Bay plead not guilty to the seven murder counts against him.

Chunli Zhao, 66, was arraigned Thursday at a Redwood City Courthouse where he entered his plea.

Zhao is facing seven counts of murder with special circumstances and one count of attempted murder in connection with last month's mass shootings at two mushroom farms.

He faces the possibility of life without parole or the death penalty if convicted.

Zhao is scheduled to return to court in May.

Investigators said Zhao worked at the farms where he carried out the massacre and might have been motivated by longstanding work-related grievances, including a $100 repair bill he received from his employer over a farm-equipment crash. 

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the repair bill may have "lit the candle."

Authorities said on Jan. 23 Zhao opened fire at California Terra Garden off Highway 92, killing his first four victims. His supervisor, two co-workers and the wife of one of the victims.

Zhao then allegedly drove to a second farm where he previously worked and killed two more farmworkers and the wife of one of the victims.