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Transient charged with homeless camp murder

A transient with seven prior felony convictions has been charged with murder for allegedly fatally stabbing a man during a dispute over a bicycle at a homeless camp in Oakland in late May.

Mario Castineda, 37, is charged in the death of 52-year-old John Bell.

Oakland police Officer Hector Jimenez wrote in a probable cause statement that Castineda stabbed Bell at the camp in the area of Fifth and Webster streets underneath Interstate Highway 880 on May 26 and then rode off with Bell’s bicycle, which was later recovered at a nearby gas station.

Jimenez said Bell identified Castineda as the person who stabbed him and then was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

However, on May 31 Bell died from his wounds, Jimenez wrote.

Additional witnesses also identified Castineda as the man who stabbed Bell, according to Jimenez.

Castineda, who was arrested on June 2 and is being held at the Santa Rita Jail without bail, is scheduled to return to court next Thursday to enter a plea.

Castineda’s prior convictions, which date back to 2000, include assault, possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property, unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.

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