Jesus Manuel Salgado, the Merced man charged with killing an 8-month-old, her parents and uncle, was back in Merced County Superior Court on Wednesday morning.
Salgado was joined in court by his brother Alberto Salgado, 41, who is charged as an accessory to the kidnapping and murders of baby Aroohi Dheri, her parents Jasleen Kaur, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 36, and her uncle Amandeep Singh, 39.
Prosecutors have requested a motion to consolidate the two cases, however, Alberto Salgado’s attorney asked for more time to respond.
A hearing was scheduled for June 14 to hear the motion to consolidate the two cases.
“We’re prepared to try the cases or to prove the cases, to resolve the cases separately,” Merced County Deputy District Attorney Katie Gates said. “Consolidating is done in the interest of judicial economy because we would expect that we would be putting the same evidence on twice so consolidation makes sense as far as calling witnesses only once rather than twice to present the same evidence.”
The family of four was kidnapped by gunpoint from their family business in Merced in October. The bodies of baby Aroohi, her parents and uncle were found on Oct. 5 by a farm worker in a rural area of the county just northeast of Dos Palos.
Jesus Salgado pleaded not guilty in October to four counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances. If convicted, He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
Alberto Salgado pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, arson of property and accessory after the fact.
There have been family members of the victims present in court for every hearing.
“Jesus Salgado, he did not just kill all four of them, he killed us and we’re dying every day,” said family member Sukhdeep Singh Dheri. “When we come to the court, we hope that justice gets served, but it’s a long process.”
“My family remembers, they are still not prepared to come to the court and see them,” Singh Deri added. “It’s very hard to see them in person, both of them.”
Singh Deri said he’ll show up at every hearing to see justice is served for them.
“My family members, they are not going to return,” he said. “He killed them already, brutally killed them. If somebody can kill a ... baby, he is a monster and this monster needs to get punished and we want to see that ASAP.”