A SUSPECT accused of kidnapping and killing a family has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Jesus Manuel Salgado is said to have kidnapped Jasdeep Singh, 36, Jasleen Kaur, 27, and their eight-month-old baby Aroohi Dheri in Merced County, California on October 3.
The 48-year-old is also accused of kidnapping Amandeep Singh, 39, before their bodies were found days later.
Salgado appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to murder and a “specific charge” of kidnapping, Merced County police officers told CNN.
It comes as chilling details about Salgado’s criminal past came to light.
Police files show that he has already spent several years behind bars.
Two women known only as Kathy and Katrina told the Los Angeles Times that they were “terrorized” by Salgado in December 2005.
Salgado had been fired from a trucking company owned by her parents.
Katrina told the LA Times that she received a call from her father, Wade, who “bought a rug.”
She claimed Salgado snuck up behind Wade when he got home.
She claimed he held her family at gunpoint and said Wade’s hand was tied with duct tape.
The women claimed he led them to a safe in the garage, which contained jewelry and cash.
“HOLD WITH DEFENSE”
According to the LA Times, Kathy claimed Salgado wanted her wedding ring before allegedly making the family jump in the pool.
Salgado was previously convicted of first-degree robbery using a firearm in Merced County, attempted false incarceration, and attempting to prevent or dissuade a victim or witness.
In 2007, Salgado was sentenced to 11 years in state prison for robbery.
However, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, he was released in 2015 and paroled three years later.
He also has a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the department said.
“SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL”
The bodies of Jasleen, Jasdeep, Aroohi and Amandeep were found by a farmhand in an orchard in rural Merced County last week.
Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke branded the crime “senseless.”
He said: “Right now there are no words to describe the anger I’m feeling.
“I said it before, there’s a special place in hell for this guy and I mean it.”
The horrifying find came just days after horrific surveillance footage showed the family being driven from their shop at gunpoint.
The family had opened the office for their company Unison Trucking Inc just a week earlier, family members told local news outlet KXTV.
Cops said the suspect made no ransom demands and the motive behind the alleged kidnapping was unclear.
Deputy Alexandra Britton said: “At the moment we believe it was accidental.”
Warnke revealed that Salgado reportedly sent angry text messages to the entire family about a year after he started working for her trucking company.
It has since emerged that Salgado harbored a grudge against the couple after they sent him on an assignment abroad two years ago.
A spokesman for the victims, Edwin Kainth, said they got into a “little argument” on his return.
Kainth told NBC Bay Area, “They had a little argument with the owners and the truck drivers, so I think he got so angry and took this action after almost two years.”
Heartbroken relative Mandeep Bhala wants “justice to be truly served”.
She told reporters, “Part of me doesn’t even want to call that person a human being. That’s not human. That’s evil.”
Cops have revealed that Salgado’s brother Alberto faces a range of charges in connection with the investigation, including criminal conspiracy, aiding and abetting and destruction of evidence.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6441234/update-suspect-kidnap-murder-merced-family/ Important update in the case of the kidnapped and brutally murdered Merced family of four after the suspect’s ailing past comes to light