One of two men accused of fatally beating and stabbing a 31-year-old man in a racially motivated attack outside a Hemet bar made his initial court appearance Wednesday.
Ernesto Gonzales, 28, of Hemet allegedly joined 32-year-old Angel Melesio Sanchez, 32, also of Hemet, in killing Andre Dyshawn Childress of San Jacinto last month.
Gonzales is charged with murder, as well as sentence-enhancing allegations of committing a hate crime and using a knife in the commission of a violent felony.
He appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst, who appointed him a public defender and rescheduled his arraignment for Jan. 19 at the Banning Justice Center.
Gonzales is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Sanchez pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder, assault resulting in great bodily injury and a sentence-enhancing hate crime allegation. He’s 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.,” inside the bar near the intersection of Carmalita Street and Florida Avenue.
The defendants and victims ended up engaged in a confrontation that spilled onto the street, culminating in the fatal assault, Miller alleged.
He said patrol officers were flagged down by a passer-by and found Childress mortally wounded. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The other victim, R.M., suffered undisclosed injuries from which he’s recovering.
Relying on security surveillance video from surrounding businesses and eyewitness accounts, Sanchez and Gonzales were soon 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.