Melissa Romero and her sister, Joanna Ruiz, paid an emotional visit to the Larson Justice Center Monday to see the man accused of killing their brother, 26-year-old Conrado Pizarro.
Kurtis Knigge, 18, stood in handcuffs before an Indio judge. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.
The La Quinta man’s suspected of gunning down Pizarro on Dec. 3 at the Shell gas station on Washington St. and Avenue of the States in Palm Desert. Security cameras show Pizarro’s car getting cut off by a white SUV, allegedly driven by Knigge, who’s suspected of then shooting Pizarro. He died two days later.
“It’s hurtful just knowing that those eyes and him, what he did to my brother,” said Romero. “I never knew anything about this man until I saw him on the news.”
More than a week later, a 20-minute high speed chase with police led to Knigge’s arrest and two others teens. Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators said the SUV they drove was stolen during a burglary that Knigge is also believed to be involved in.
On top of murder charges, Knigge faces a felony weapons charge, auto theft, burglary and resisting arrest.
“It’s brought closure. It won’t bring my brother back,” said Romero. “(Knigge) is not out here. He can’t hurt anyone else.”
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Victoria Cameron set his bail at $2 million and ordered him back to court Jan. 7 for a felony settlement conference.