MODESTO -- Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh’s loved ones filed into a courtroom Monday afternoon to face four people accused of helping Gustavo Arriaga.
Arriaga is the suspected gang member who Stanislaus County sheriff’s investigators say shot and killed Singh in the early morning hours the day after Christmas.
Singh had pulled Arriaga over on suspicion of driving drunk.
Cameras were not allowed inside of the courtroom.
“We had to double look at the pictures, we had to double look at everything because we didn’t believe it,” Estefania Mendoza, Arriaga’s cousin, told FOX40. “We didn’t think it was him.”
In the days leading up to his capture, Arriaga’s girlfriend, Ana Cervantes, brothers Adrian Virgen and Conrado Mendoza, and coworker Erik Quiroz Razo were taken into custody. They are accused of helping Arriaga, who is living in the country illegally, flee toward Mexico.
Arriaga got as far as Kern County before he was arrested Friday morning.
“It’s hard for everybody. As much as it is for them, it is also for us,” Arriaga’s family friend Leslie Pedrazo said.
All four suspects pleaded not guilty.
Their bail is set to $100,000 each. Prosecutors say they are each in the country illegally and should be considered flight risks.
Meanwhile, criminal defense attorney Wilber Salgado, who is not representing any of the suspects, believes the publicity of the case could impact the trial’s location.
“A very difficult time for everyone and the emotions are high," he said. "It’s going to be a very hard case to have a fair trial here.”
Arriaga and the three caught in Kern County are expected to be in court Wednesday.