One of two men accused of fatally assaulting a 31-year-old man in a racially motivated attack outside a Hemet bar has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.
Ernesto Gonzales, 29, of Hemet allegedly joined 32-year-old Angel Melesio Sanchez, also of Hemet, in killing Andre Dyshawn Childress of San Jacinto in December.
Along with murder, Gonzales is charged with sentence-enhancing allegations of committing a hate crime and using a knife in the commission of a violent felony.
He was arraigned Thursday before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 19 at the Banning Justice Center.
Gonzales is being held on $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Sanchez, who was arraigned last month on identical charges, is being held on $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to Hemet police Lt. Nathan Miller, shortly after midnight on Dec. 28, Sanchez and Gonzales were involved in an unspecified dispute with Childress and another man, identified in court documents only as “R.M.,” all of whom were inside the bar, located near the intersection of Carmalita Street and Florida Avenue.
The defendants and victims soon exited the pub and carried their argument into the street, culminating in the fatal assault, Miller alleged.
He said patrol officers were flagged down by a passerby and found Childress mortally wounded. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene moments later. The other victim, R.M., suffered undisclosed injuries from which he has since recovered.
Relying on security surveillance video from surrounding businesses and eyewitness accounts, Sanchez and Gonzales were ultimately identified as the alleged perpetrators, according to the lieutenant.
Sanchez was arrested without incident on the night of Dec. 28, and Gonzales was taken into custody three days later.
Court documents show Sanchez has prior convictions for illegally manufacturing a weapon and driving under the influence.
Gonzales has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
City News Service • Contributed
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