Man Accused in Cathedral City Slaying Pleads Not Guilty

Man Accused in Cathedral City Slaying Pleads Not Guilty

City News Service Connect

A 28-year-old man accused in a fatal shooting in Cathedral City pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

Jose Ernesto Martinez of Desert Hot Springs was arrested Saturday on suspicion of gunning down 27-year-old Isaac Valles of Rancho Mirage earlier that morning.

Martinez was arraigned at the Banning Justice Center before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez, who set bail at $1 million and scheduled a felony settlement conference for July 13 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Martinez remains held at the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio.

Along with a murder charge, Martinez faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.

Martinez allegedly killed Valles at the conclusion of a domestic dispute, according to the Cathedral City Police Department, which did not elaborate on the nature of the argument.

Officers sent to the 31800 block of Neuma Drive about 2:40 a.m. Saturday found the victim lying in the roadway, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Despite first responders’ attempts to revive him, Valles was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives collected “ample witness statements and crime scene evidence” that pointed to Martinez as the suspect, who was arrested in Desert Hot Springs about two hours after police initially arrived on scene, jail records show.

Martinez has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

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