Camacho in the Wheelhouse: Rim Student Murder Suspect’s Trial Delayed - Mountain News : News

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Camacho in the Wheelhouse: Rim Student Murder Suspect’s Trial Delayed

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Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2019 9:00 am

On Saturday, Dec. 14, Kaleb Aurelio was found lying unresponsive in a Crestline driveway with a fatal gunshot wound. The next day, Joshua Camacho’s nearby residence was searched with a warrant by deputies from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station. Camacho was not at the residence at the time but arrested later that day in Orange County and, after questioning, by police was booked into Central Detention Center for PC187 (murder).

On Dec. 20, Camacho was scheduled to be arraigned in the San Bernardino County Superior Court on West Third Street in San Bernardino.


Friday, Dec. 20

At approximately 10:30 a.m. Joshua Dalto Camacho enters Courtroom S2 of the San Bernardino Justice Center and is led to sit at an empty chair in the jury box. He’s short - approximately 5’6” - and his black hair his been buzzed evenly by clippers to approximately an inch in length. His left arm is covered in a tattoo collage of flaming skulls that extends downward from the sleeve of his orange prison jumpsuit. On the right side of his neck, beneath his right ear, is a faded American flag tattoo with some writing underneath.

Camacho sits with the other detained defendants frowning heavily. He scans the courtroom. The process is slow. Public defenders file paperwork and look at their phones.

Camacho sits in the front row of the jury box and fights back grimaces wracked with emotion. He looks distraught: like he’s about to sob. A few seconds later, he returns to a blank, vacant stare as he gazes at the government furniture populating the middle distance of his vantage.

“Sh*t!” Camacho forcefully mouths the word and his eyes squint shut. 

At approximately 10:35 a.m., a man enters the courtroom and is identified as Camacho’s father by one of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies on duty. The man looks like Camacho but older. He is wearing a blue suit and smiles in Camacho’s direction. Camacho offers a distraught look back to the man, then sits with his head bowed.

As the gravity of the arraignment begins to set in, Camacho begins to silently weep. He sniffles audibly and wipes away a tear from each eye and shifts nervously in his seat.

At approximately 10:40 a.m., a public defender representing Camacho moves to push the arraignment back one week, to Dec. 27.

With tears in his eyes, Camacho is led away.


Friday, Dec. 27

Catherine Quill, the public defender who said she specializes in homicide cases, organizes her papers in a swivel chair while talking to other public defenders. She will be representing Camacho in his case against the state.

Since Christmas was just two days ago, the courthouse is slightly understaffed and there is only one judge for two courtrooms today. From 8:30 a.m. to approximately 10:30 a.m., nothing related to the Camacho case happens. Three female members of Camacho’s family are present in the audience today.

At approximately 10:40 a.m., Camacho is led into the courtroom wearing handcuffs and leg restraints. District Attorney Michelle Ditzhazy says she is awaiting discovery from the police so everything is moved to Dec. 30.


Monday, Dec. 30

The courthouse is busier than it has been the two previous sessions.

Camacho’s public defender, Catherine Quill, enters the courtroom at 8:48 a.m. and asks one of the sheriff’s deputies presiding over detained defendants if she can speak with her client. The deputy approves and Quill disappears into the windowless side room through a windowless door where prisoners await trial.

The courthouse cops look bored. There’s three or four of them in the room at any given time. Every seven to 10 minutes, one of them moseys over to an industrial-sized jug of hand sanitizer, pumps out a palmful of disinfectant and slowly, yet vigorously, rubs the transparent cleansing goo dry, paying special attention to the backs of their hands and wrists. 

Meanwhile, public defenders in grey suits and brown shoes chat about their workloads for the day. By 9:05 a.m. nothing has happened yet. Camacho has been in custody since Dec. 15. He spent Christmas in detention and he will spend New Year’s in detention too. He has spent less than a minute before the judge in the past fifteen days.

The jury box contains 14 comfortable-looking executive leather office swivel-chairs. Defendants who were arrested and detained and couldn’t make bail are led in wearing their manacles, cuffs, chains and orange jumpsuits. They are instructed by supervising deputies to sit one chair apart from each other. There’s never more than four or five defendants at a time in the box. In the empty chair next to each defendant there will occasionally be sitting a public defender rifling through a stack of case files looking for the one that applies to the correct person they’re talking to at that time.

A nearby public defender, who is not speaking with a client, is seen looking up recipes on her phone. It appears she is using the Insta-Pot app to look up the recipes.

At 9:32 a.m., Camacho’s public defender, Quill, emerges through the windowless wooden door from the windowless side room. 

At 9:35 a.m., the defendant’s family members enter the courtroom and sit down in the public benches. Defendants crane their heads from the jury boxes looking for familiar faces. Family members cast hopeful and reassuring looks their way in return.

At 9:40, three new defendants are led in and take their seats in the jury box. The defendants meet their public defenders and chat while an assorted mix of lawyers approach the bench with paperwork that needs to be worked out with the judge and clerk. 

A Sheriff’s Deputy uses the pump-spigot on the huge jug of sanitizer to apply a liberal dollop of the stuff and begins compulsively rubbing his hands together again.

“Who has 6B - Camacho?” the judge asks at 10:05 a.m.

Quill enters the courtroom from the hall, texting on her phone.

“It’s not gonna go, I believe his people are missing a witness,” Quill says before leaving the courtroom again.

When asked what’s happening, Quill explains that the arraignment has again been pushed back.

“Thursday is the last day for the D.A. to file so it’ll probably go then,” Quill explains. “Otherwise they have to dismiss the case and refile.”

“Nothing exciting is gonna happen today,” she added.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • dirude posted at 3:19 pm on Wed, Jan 29, 2020.

    dirude Posts: 0

    Great writing..... Please add pictures to your next report on this case. Thank you.

  • FarmerJim posted at 1:37 pm on Sat, Jan 18, 2020.

    FarmerJim Posts: 0

    Yes, there's lots of descriptive hyperbole, but all that extra detail went a long way to make me feel that I was there, looking around the room. Since one may have to wait hours for anything significant to happen in any courtroom, all that's left is to notice and observe every little detail and movement and take notes.

    Mr. Kipley's narrative left a smile on my face. Besides, I'd rather have too many details than not enough.

    One question I have though is that the last entry for this case was on Dec. 31st and it is now Jan. 18. Has nothing else happened in all this time?

  • Kencon88 posted at 3:46 pm on Thu, Jan 16, 2020.

    Kencon88 Posts: 0

    I have to be honest. This article written by Nick Kipley is unnecessarily way too descriptive. Even hard to follow at some points with the constant narrative. No offense but just the facts are needed. No need to elaborate on how much sanitizer the bailiff used to clean his hands. I mean... come on. I felt like I was reading a novel! It's just very unconventional compared to how a normal news article is written. While I appreciate the detail, a normal article would have been nice, given the magnitude of this crime and the public interest in this case.

  • MountainLife13 posted at 2:53 pm on Fri, Jan 10, 2020.

    MountainLife13 Posts: 0

    Ok you are a good writer if this was a true crime novel, but good journalists lay off the descriptive hyperbole and do not assume facts not in evidence.