A convicted felon suspected of killing a woman in Indio in 2016 and a man in Arizona two years later pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the California slaying.
Marcos Cruz Gaeta, 38, was arrested Friday in Cathedral City on a fugitive warrant stemming from the killing of Jamie Maher, 30, of Indio, and the 2018 slaying of a 29-year-old man in Avondale, Arizona, Indio police said.
It was not immediately clear if there was any connection between the two killings.
According to Indio police, investigators in California and Arizona identified Gaeta as a suspect in the respective killings.
“When arrested in the area of Date Palm Drive and Ramon Road in Cathedral City, he was armed with a loaded handgun, but was safely taken into custody,” according to Indio police.
Maher was found shot multiple times on the evening of Aug. 28, 2016, at a home in the 82300 block of Santa Rosa Avenue. Responding officers performed CPR on Maher, but she died at the scene a short time later, police said.
Maher’s mother told KESQ, “Where Jamie is, she doesn’t need justice, but our family needs justice and the community needs justice.”
According to police in Avondale, Arizona, “extradition is pending” on Gaeta for charges related to the March 14, 2018, killing of Joseph Knight.
Gaeta is being held at the Indio jail in lieu of $2 million bail, and he is due back in court March 21 for a felony settlement conference.
Gaeta has pleaded guilty to several crimes in the past, including a felony child abuse charge in March 2011 and a felony burglary charge in May 2000, according to court records. It is not clear if he was on probation at the time of his arrest.
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