A Visalia, California, man accused of stabbing a Kmart loss prevention associate to death had a troubled past that took him from jails, to prisons to a mental health hospital and back into the community. Jeremy Kechloian’s criminal history dates back to the mid-1990s, his first felony charge in Tulare County. He was most recently released from Bob Wiley Detention Facility. According to court records, his crimes include felony assault, drug and traffic offenses, as well as misdemeanor assault and battery. He has two strikes based on California’s Three Strikes law. Kechloian also spent time at the Atascadero State Hospital — a 1,100-bed facility meant to hold violent, mentally ill offenders and parolees. According to court records, Kechloian was sentenced to the hospital following a 2013 felony assault conviction. The hospital is made up of patients who are incompetent to stand trial, mentally disordered offenders, mentally ill California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation prisoners and not guilty by reason of insanity. Roughly 48 percent of the population are mentally disordered patients, according to the hospital’s website. Phillip Koziel, public information officer for the state hospital, said there is a “multitude of different facets” that go into a patient’s release.
At some point, a doctor or state officials felt Kechloian was ready to be introduced back into society. Now, he faces homicide charges stemming from the death of Jeffery Campbell, 31, a Kmart loss prevention associate who was stabbed trying to stop Kechloian from shoplifting. Kechloian was charged with murder last week, along with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and resisting an officer — he’s accused of attacking the arresting officer. He is also charged with a special allegation of being a two-strike felon. The attack happened just after 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Employees of Visalia’s Kmart called police when Kechloian lunged with a knife at Campbell.
Officers rushed to the scene while employees gave dispatchers a description of the suspect. Police surrounded the store and found a man in the back of the retailer, which shares a parking lot with SaveMart. Kechloian was taken to Visalia Police Department headquarters. While being interrogated by detectives, he assaulted an officer, police said. Campbell died two days later. Kechloian was taken to the hospital, where he spent two days recovering from a broken hand. He’s been booked into Tulare County Pretrial Facility on suspicion of murder and is being held without bail.
Campbell’s family is left to pick up the pieces. Friends of Campbell said the 31-year-old man helped support his mother and stepfather. They said he always “worried for his mom, and what might become of her if he wasn’t around to take care of her.” He was described as a “dedicated friend” who had a “genuine love for people.” A GoFundMe has been created to help the family bury Campbell. Since Friday, the GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $6,500 of the $10,000 goal. ”Let’s rally together and show our support for Jeff’s family,” creators of the GoFundMe page stated. “During a time like this, financial stability should be the least of concerns for a parent…The loss of their son does not stop the bills from coming in, and without Jeff, they are definitely going to need some help from friends, family, and anyone with a kind heart and the means to offer help. Let’s show them that they are not alone.” To donate to Campbell’s GoFundMe, click here. [Source: Visalia Times Delta]