Man accused of trying to rob bank in downtown SLO pleads not guilty

A man who allegedly tried to rob Chase Bank in downtown San Luis Obispo on Jan. 3 has entered a not-guilty plea.

Denardo James, 26, pleaded not guilty to attempted robbery and burglary.

James walked into the bank at 1235 Chorro St. and ordered everyone onto the floor, according to San Luis Obispo police.

He left the bank, without any cash, and fled on foot. Officers found him a short distance from the bank and arrested him.

James’ attorney, Pierre Blahnik, initially declared a doubt to his client’s competency to stand trial. But James has been taking medication and his mental status appears stable, according to discussion in court Tuesday.

When an attorney declares a doubt to a person’s competency to stand trial, the defendant’s ability to understand the nature of the charges against him and assist in his own defense is called into question.

James is in custody in County Jail in lieu of $70,000 bail. A pre-preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25.