A Lancaster man, who allegedly struck a dog with his car and then shot the animal’s owner after being asked to pay for the injured canine’s veterinary care, pleaded not guilty this week to a murder charge.

Demonte Antone Thomas, 29, is charged in the June 26, 2015, killing of 22-year-old Michael Davis.

Thomas allegedly struck Davis’ dog with a car, then pulled out a handgun and shot the young man upon being asked to pay for the vet bill, according to testimony presented at an Aug. 1 hearing in which Thomas was ordered to stand trial.

Thomas, who has been jailed in lieu of $3 million bail since his Jan. 3 arrest, is due back in a Lancaster courtroom Oct. 5 for a pretrial hearing.

He could face up to 40 years to life in state prison, if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.