A 52-year-old man accused of butchering a Coachella resident with a machete pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and other offenses.
Gabriel Castro Ramirez of Coachella was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of killing 46-year-old Jimmy Meza the day before.
Along with the murder count, Ramirez is charged with one count each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, and three counts of child endangerment.
Ramirez was arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio before Riverside County Superior Court Judge John J. Ryan, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Aug. 11.
Deputies responded at 8:43 p.m. last Tuesday to the area of Fifth Street and Vine Avenue to an assault with a deadly weapon call, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies found Meza suffering from life-threatening injuries, and he later died.
Ramirez was arrested at the scene with a machete in his hand, sheriff’s officials said.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, the defendant also was charged with attempted murder for attacking someone identified only as “Gustavo M.,” also with a machete. And, he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury for allegedly using a vehicle to attempt to return over another victim identified only as “Jasmine L.”
Meanwhile, he was also charged with three counts of child endangerment against two girls and a boy.
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Beyond the murder count, the sheriff’s department did not provide additional information regarding the rest of Ramirez’s alleged crimes, and a motive was not made public.
Ramirez has felony convictions including carrying a concealed knife and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury.
He is being held on $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.