MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The arraignment for a man who authorities said kidnapped and killed four family members last week in Merced has been postponed.
On Monday afternoon, 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado was expected to be arraigned in court on four counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, arson, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
A judge postponed the arraignment in order to give Salgado time to hire his own attorney instead of moving forward with a public defender.
While in court, Salgado said he would need a couple of months to hire an attorney, but the judge denied that request.
His arraignment has now been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 13.
Investigators said Salgado had kidnapped eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her mother and father, Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle, Amandeep Singh, from the family’s trucking business near Highway 59 on Monday, October 3.
After learning the family had been kidnapped, authorities launched a search that continued until all four of the victims’ bodies were found in an orchard near Dos Palos on Wednesday night.
Salgado was arrested on Tuesday and spent two days in the hospital after officials said he tried to take his own life. He was released from the hospital on Thursday night and booked into the Merced County Jail.
If convicted of the charges, Salgado will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.