A convicted felon from Lake Elsinore who’s accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend and then fleeing to Las Vegas, where he was apprehended while holding their 2-year-old son, is in custody Monday in Riverside and is slated to make his initial court appearance later this week.
Celestine John Stoot Jr., 42, was extradited back to California on Sunday and booked into the Robert Presley Jail, where he’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Stoot is charged with second-degree murder, child cruelty, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
He’s tentatively scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
On the morning of July 4, Stoot allegedly gunned down 43-year-old Natasha Denise Barlow of San Jacinto during a domestic dispute and snatched their son, also named Celestine, from the residence in the 17000 block of Hayes Avenue, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Sgt. Deanna Pecoraro said patrol deputies were called to the location hours later and found Barlow dead. The sergeant said detectives immediately identified Stoot as the alleged assailant and suspected that he had fled with his son, but no one was certain where.
A statewide Amber Alert was issued, asking the public to be on the lookout for the defendant and child.
Authorities captured Stoot with his son in Las Vegas the following afternoon. The fugitive was taken into custody without incident.
The boy was unharmed and immediately returned to Southern California, where he was placed in the care of loved ones.
Stoot was booked into the Clark County Detention Center and remained there until Sunday, when he was retrieved by Riverside County law enforcement personnel and transferred to the Robert Presley Jail.
According to court records, he has prior convictions for gun assault, domestic violence and witness intimidation.