Tulare jury finds Jeremy Kechloian guilty of 2018 Kmart murder

3 mins read

Tulare County juries have found Visalia man Jeremy Kechloian, age 47, guilty of the 2018 murder of a man at the former Visalia Kmart store and the subsequent assault of law enforcement officers during his time in custody.

On May 9, 2018, around 5:30 pm, Kechloian entered Kmart in Visalia with a knife visible in his back pocket. A patron reported her concern to the customer service desk. Meanwhile, Kechloian retrieved some milk and went to the customer service desk where he attempted to withdraw money from the Western Union station. During this time, the victim, Kmart’s loss prevention officer, responded to assist. The victim escorted the defendant out of the store. Once outside, Kechloian stabbed the victim in the neck and chest. Kechloian fled, but was quickly apprehended by Visalia Police Department officers behind the store with the knife. The victim succumbed to his injuries two days later.

While Kechloian was being booked and processed at the Visalia Police Department, he punched an officer in the face. The defendant kicked, punched, and physically resisted the two officers who were in the holding cell. Two additional officers responded to assist in restraining the combative defendant.

On November 22, 2021, Kechloian was found guilty of first-degree murder with the special allegation that he used a deadly weapon, a knife, and two felony counts of resisting an executive officer. The jury also found true the special allegation that the defendant suffered a prior strike offense, an assault with a deadly weapon (2009).

In a separate trial that rendered a verdict on November 30, 2021, Kechloian was found guilty of felony possession of a weapon in custody, battery by gassing, battery upon a custodial officer, and three counts of misdemeanor violations of damaging jail property. The jury also found true the special allegation that the defendant suffered a prior strike offense, an assault with a deadly weapon (2009). Between March 1, 2019, and September 25, 2020, while in custody at the Bob Wiley Detention Facility pending trial in the murder case, the Kechloian was charged for incidents involving throwing feces on a custodial officer, throwing inmate manufactured alcohol on a custodial officer, possessing an inmate-made weapon, and damaging the windows of his jail cell.

Kechloian faces 68 years, 8 months-to-life in prison at sentencing scheduled for December 17, 2021, in Department 10 of the Tulare County Superior Court. He possesses several felony priors since 1994 including possession of contraband in jail, possession of a controlled substance, petty theft with priors, resisting an executive officer, and assault with a deadly weapon (crowbar).