Skip to Content

Cathedral City man accused of killing roommate, cats pleads not guilty for second time

Joseph Ortega
Joseph Ortega

A 41-year-old man accused of killing his roommate and two cats in their Cathedral City apartment re-entered a not guilty plea to murder today.

Joseph Ortega initially pleaded not guilty to the murder charges Nov. 3, 2022, during his first court appearance in the case.

At the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Ortega re-entered a not guilty plea for the murder charge Friday.

Ortega is scheduled to appear at a trial-readiness conference on May 30. In the meantime, he remains in custody at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta with $1 million bail.

According to the Cathedral City Police Department, shortly after 10 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2022, officers were called to the Pickfair Apartments at 36700 Pickfair St., near Monty Hall Drive, to investigate reports of a man down.   

Police said that Jova Saint Ives Geller was located inside an apartment with obvious trauma to his head and neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Cathedral City Fire Department paramedics.

Jova Saint Ives Geller

Geller's two cats were also found dead in the residence, slain by unspecified means.

Ortega was detained in the apartment without incident and questioned by homicide detectives, culminating in his being arrested without incident two hours later.

A possible motive for the alleged attack was not disclosed.   

Ortega has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

Jump to comments ↓

City News Service


News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content