Judge Denies Bail for Man Accused of Killing Cathedral City Business Owner

Judge Denies Bail for Man Accused of Killing Cathedral City Business Owner

Taylor Martinez & City News Service

A judge Friday denied bail for a 19-year-old man accused of gunning down the proprietor of a Cathedral City convenience store during a robbery.

Charles Lamar Campbell of Beaumont and his alleged accomplice, 19-year- old Joel Ortiz-Hidalgo of Desert Hot Springs, were arrested Monday in connection with the Feb. 21 killing of of 61-year-old Cathedral City resident Chris Sgouromitis.

They are each charged with one count each of murder and attempted robbery, with a special circumstance allegation of killing in the commission of a robbery.

Campbell made his initial court appearance at the Banning Justice Center, but did not enter a plea. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez issued the no-bail ruling and rescheduled the defendant’s arraignment for Monday.

Ortiz-Hidalgo, who is also being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility, pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

Authorities allege Campbell gunned down Sgouromitis, while Ortiz- Hidalgo acted as the getaway driver.

Police were sent to the Outpost Market at 68171 Ramon Road about 9:15 p.m. Feb. 21 on an armed robbery report.

Patrol officers arrived to find the victim suffering from gunshot wounds. Despite first responders’ attempts to save him, Sgouromitis was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sgouromitis was popular in the community, and police said help from residents was “critical” in tracking down the two suspects.

The day after the shooting, community members cycled in and out of the store paying their respects to the business owner and visiting a makeshift memorial nearby. According to police, he was a “father of four with strong local community ties, who was not involved in criminal activity and died in his longtime place of business.”

Neither defendant has any documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

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