A 25-year-old Contra Costa County woman pleaded not guilty today in San Francisco Superior Court to murdering a pizzeria worker with a knife last week.

Prosecutor Linda Allen said today the motive for murder of 38-year-old Lassaad Youssef Bokri on Nov. 24 is still unclear.

Police say Maryam Achekzai, 25, of Hercules, stabbed Bokri, a San Francisco resident, at about 1:30 a.m. outside Bellissimo Pizza, located at 920 Sutter St. in the city’s Nob Hill neighborhood.

Achekzai then flagged down a passing driver and asked for a ride, saying she had been threatened, police said.

She was arrested when police responding to the stabbing pulled the car over and saw blood on her hands and clothing, according to the district attorney’s office. The alleged murder weapon was recovered near the pizzeria.

Achekzai was arraigned this morning on one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon. She also faces an enhancement for having served a prior state prison term. The sentenced stemmed from Achekzai’s conviction for assault with a deadly weapon for a 2006 robbery in Fremont in which she reportedly held a knife to a woman’s throat.

Following her not-guilty plea, Achekzai was ordered held on $5 million bail. She is due back in court Dec. 29 for a date-setting hearing.

Achekzai’s newly appointed attorney, Public Defender Mark Iverson, declined to comment today, saying he had just begun reviewing evidence in the case.

According to witness reports, Achekzai first entered the pizzeria and asked an employee for a glass of water. After she was given the water, she then left, returning a few minutes later to find Bokri smoking a cigarette outside.

Achekzai then allegedly shouted at Bokri as she stabbed him several times with a knife, according to the district attorney’s office.

Allen said it doesn’t appear Achekzai and Bokri knew each other.

If convicted, Achekzai could face up to 27 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.

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