The man responsible for the 2018 stabbing death of a Visalia Kmart security guard has been convicted of murder and a slew of other offenses by a Tulare County jury.
Jeremy Kelchoian, 47, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars as a result of the deadly department store violence.
In May 2018, Kelchoian entered the Kmart on Noble Avenue with a knife in his back pocket. A security guard responded to customers' concerns and escorted Kelchoian outside.
That's when Kelchoian stabbed the guard, Jeffery Campbell, 31, in the neck and chest. He died two days later from his wounds.
Kelchoian fled the scene but was quickly caught and arrested by officers behind the store. During booking, he assaulted and resisted three officers.
Campbell's friends and former coworkers remembered the "loyal friend" and "caring soul" on social media. Heather Shaw said that she held his hand until paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital.
"I'm glad I was able to hold his hand until the ambulance came," she said. "I never thought in a thousand years I would be in that kind of predicament, but God has his reasons and I was glad to help when it was needed."
Campbell's former manager said he was glad to see justice delivered to the killer. The Kmart has since closed and is now home to the Tulare County Probation Department.
"I am glad this man won't be back on the streets to hurt anybody else," Aaron Sprinkle said.
On Nov. 22, jurors found Kelchoian guilty of first-degree murder with the special allegation that he used a deadly weapon, and two counts of assaulting an officer.
Kelchoian wracked up a number of other charges while in jail. He assaulted officers, threw feces and alcohol, and destroyed property. A separate jury found Kelchoian guilty of those crimes on Nov. 30.
Kelchoian had recently been released from a state hospital for violent and mentally ill criminals before killing Campbell. He has many prior convictions ranging from assault to drug- and theft-related crimes.
Kelchoian faces 68 years-to-life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Joshua Yeager is a reporter with the Visalia Times-Delta and a Report for America corps member. He covers Tulare County news deserts with a focus on the environment and local governments.
This article originally appeared on Visalia Times-Delta: Visalia Kmart killer convicted of murder as coworkers, friends remember 'loyal friend'