Prosecutor may seek death penalty for alleged murderer of beloved local businessman

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A prosecutor announced Oct. 19 his office may seek the death penalty against an El Cajon man who is charged with killing and robbing a beloved businessman also from El Cajon.

A customer found Ghedeer “Tony” Radda, 49, mortally wounded Oct. 10 at his store, Bottom Price Flooring & Supply, at 1015 G Street in downtown San Diego.

Special circumstance charges alleging murder during a robbery and burglary were filed Oct. 19 against Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 51, who was arrested Oct. 18 at midnight by San Diego Police.

Cartwright pleaded not guilty.

A prosecutor announced Oct. 19 his office may seek the death penalty against an El Cajon man who is charged with killing and robbing a beloved businessman also from El Cajon.

A customer found Ghedeer “Tony” Radda, 49, mortally wounded Oct. 10 at his store, Bottom Price Flooring & Supply, at 1015 G Street in downtown San Diego.

Special circumstance charges alleging murder during a robbery and burglary were filed Oct. 19 against Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 51, who was arrested Oct. 18 at midnight by San Diego Police.

Cartwright pleaded not guilty.

Hundreds of people attended Radda’s funeral on Oct. 13 at the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon. He leaves a wife and two daughters and there is a GoFundMe page for the family.

The GoFundMe page said Radda had worked at the business for 16 years.

“All who knew him knew he was a charming, soft-spoken man with a heart of gold,” wrote a relative.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco told San Diego Superior Court Judge Lorna Alksne his office may seek execution or a life term in prison without parole if Cartwright is convicted.

Security surveillance cameras caught images of someone wearing an old lady mask and a woman with a long purple wig who entered the business. The woman entered first, and got Radda to the back of the store. The man in the mask then entered the business and shot him, and then stole money from the register, said Greco.

“It was a calculated and lethal ambush for the purpose of a robbery,” said Greco.

The prosecutor and police did not disclose what led to Cartwright’s arrest. However, Greco said Cartwright was convicted of eight robberies and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005.

Greco called Cartwright “an extreme flight risk” and requested $5 million bail, which the judge set. His attorney, Jeremy Thornton, will argue for a reduction in bail on Oct. 24.

A status hearing was set for Nov. 15 and Cartwright remains in jail.

Driver flees scene of crash, to stand trial for passenger’s death

The young driver of a vehicle that crashed on a freeway while going almost 100 mph was ordered Oct. 19 to stand trial for gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of an 18-year-old passenger from El Cajon.

Witnesses testified in the preliminary hearing of Sajjad Hameed Ismael, 20, who is also charged with hit-and-run in the May 17 death of Isaac Garcia, who was a passenger.

Everyone in thecar wore seat belts, but “excessive speed” was the cause of the crash, said California Highway Patrol officer Joseph Heightman.

Heightman said witnesses said Ismael’s vehicle was “darting in and out of traffic,” and the speed was estimated at 100 mph.

Heightman quoted a passenger who told him the young men were going to the beach and the driver was “going way too fast.”

Ismael was also driving with a suspended license due to a previous DUI, said Heightman, which may have been why he fled the scene.

Ismael’s car clipped another vehicle on Interstate 8 in Grantville and it went up a hillside between separating eastbound and westbound lanes. It struck two trees and rolled back onto the freeway.

CHP investigator Brad Clinkscales told San Diego Superior Court Judge Fred Link that Ismael fled the scene and called some people to pick him up near Alvarado Canyon Road.

Clinkscales said a search of Ismael’s phone disclosed he made the calls after the crash, but he was arrested minutes later.

Link set a trial date for Dec. 7. Ismael pleaded not guilty. He remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $500,000 bail.

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