California Man Accused Of Killing His Roomate, 2 Pet Cats During Halloween Attack

california suspect
Source: Cathedral City Police Department; UNSPLASH

Nov. 5 2022, Published 9:01 a.m. ET

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A California suspect accused of killing his roommate and the man’s two pet cats has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Joseph Ortega, 39, entered the plea during a court hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Nov. 3, KESQ reported.

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According to police, Ortega was charged with one count of murder and two felony counts of cruelty to an animal in connection with the death of J. Gellar and the cats.

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Shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, emergency responders in Cathedral City found Gellar at the Pickfair Apartments suffering apparent trauma to his head and neck and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives investigating the murder identified Gellar’s roommate as a suspect in the case and arrested him around 1 a.m. that morning. A motive has not been released in the incident.

Gellar was being held at the John J. Benoit Detention Center on $1 million bail.


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