CONCORD (BCN) — A Concord man accused of fatally stabbing another man outside a Burger King restaurant in Concord on Sunday pleaded not guilty to murder charges Wednesday, and his attorney said he may have acted in self-defense.

Joshua Cardone, a 19-year-old Concord resident, also denied an enhancement for the use of a knife in the killing of 20-year-old Concord resident Richard Gilliam.

His attorney Michael Cardoza said about 15 to 20 friends and family members came to court in Martinez to show their support for Cardone.

According to police, Cardone was involved in a dispute with Gilliam in a parking lot in the 5400 block of Ygnacio Valley Road around 4:20 p.m. when Cardone allegedly stabbed Gilliam.

When police arrived, they found Gilliam in the parking lot with at least one stab wound. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Cardone remained at the scene, and witnesses identified him as the stabber, police said.

Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney John Cope, who filed the charges against Cardone Wednesday, said he could not release details about the nature of the dispute or the circumstances of the stabbing because investigators were still interviewing witnesses, many of who knew Cardone.

He did say, however, that the two men “were not strangers to one another.”

Cardoza said he was still reviewing the evidence in the case, but believes “this may be a good case of self-defense.”

He said he heard from witnesses that Gilliam had behaved violently in the past.

“We want to look at the background of the deceased,” Cardoza said.

According to court records, Gilliam has one pending misdemeanor charge of possession of a deadly weapon, but no other adult criminal history in Contra Costa County.

Cardone had no prior criminal history in the county, according to court records.

As to the question of why Cardone remained at the scene, Cope said, “some people who acted in self-defense stay, and some people who want to pretend they acted in self-defense stay, and that’s what we have juries for.”

Cardone is scheduled to return to Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez on May 10 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

He remained in custody Wednesday on $1.3 million bail.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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