Defense blood expert set to testify in quadruple murder trial
Testimony is expected Tuesday afternoon from the next defense witness in the murder trial of Jose Larin Garcia, accused of killing four people in Palm Springs in February 2019.
An expert in interpreting the patterns of bloodstains will likely be called to the stand and challenge the opinion of the prosecution’s equivalent expert.
News Channel 3’s Jake Ingrassia follows the latest from the courtroom: follow here.
Hello, testimony resumes in the quadruple murder trial of Jose Larin Garcia. Follow my live updates in the thread below @KESQ
— Jake Ingrassia (@JakeKESQ) February 8, 2022
Using blood splatters from inside a wrecked Toyota Corolla, prosecutor’s expert Craig Ogino found there was not a third person in the back seat between suspect and victim Jacob Montgomery. The defense argues that a third person, John Olvera, was there and committed the murders.
On Monday, prosecutors closed their case and the defense called its first witness, a woman who reported to police the Instagram DMs she received from John Olvera, the man who Larin Garcia’s team says committed the murders.
Jose Larin Garcia, a Cathedral City man, is accused of killing four people (ages 17-25): Carlos Campos, Jacob Montgomery, Yuliana Garcia and Juan Duarte Raya nearly three years ago.
The four victims were all found shot on the night of February 3, 2019.
Three of the victims were found inside a car that crashed on Sunny Dunes and El Placer roads. The fourth victim was discovered on the street on Canon Dr. a few blocks away.
When the police arrived on the scene, they found Larin Garcia hiding under a truck. They say he appeared drunk and covered in blood.
Larin Garcia was taken to the Desert Regional Medical Center for treatment. Security footage shows him fleeing the property later that night.
Detectives testified that he then went to a friend’s house from whom he bought a one-way bus ticket to Florida using a false name. Prosecutors say he was preparing to flee – shaving his head and beard to change his appearance. He was arrested while waiting at the bus stop.
Larin Garcia is charged with four counts of murder. He also faces a special circumstance allegation of having committed multiple murders, exposing him to the death penalty if convicted.
WEEK 6 IN COURT:
In week six, a DNA expert testified to blood found on key pieces of evidence like the crashed Toyota Corolla and a black jacket and pair of shoes that Jose Larin Garcia took off.
A bloodstain pattern interpreter said he believed there were only two people in the back seat of the crashed Toyota Corolla, dismantling a crucial part of the defense’s case.
The interpreter also calculated where the victims were when they were shot using bloodstain analysis.
A detective testified about ammunition he found during a search of the suspect’s bedroom that is similar to that found at the murder scene.
WEEK 5 IN COURT:
In week five, the defense worked to prove that Larin Garcia was framed. A forensic investigator testified that she did not file any evidence, but that some errors could have been made in the handling of the evidence.
A medical examiner from the coroner’s office said autopsies on two of the victims revealed multiple gunshot wounds to the head as causes of death.
A PSPD investigator testified that he did not plant a bullet casing in the suspect’s trunk to entrap him.
An undercover officer who posed as an inmate in Larin Garcia’s jail cell after the killings testified that the suspect told him he was “screwed”.
WEEK 4 IN COURT:
In week four, there was intense debate over whether Jose Larin Garcia fled the hospital after the February 2019 killings.
Jurors heard from key forensic experts: a crime scene technician, a fingerprint examiner and a blood expert.
Crucial testimony was set up by undercover agents who posed as inmates and spoke at length with the accused after the crimes.
WEEK 3 IN COURT:
The third week of this trial, jurors heard from John Olvera, the 18-year-old who the defense says is actually responsible. Police investigated posts on his social media accounts that appeared to take credit for the killings, but Olvera repeatedly testified that he posted rap lyrics or “presented” as a “gangster.” budding”.
Justice Department forensic specialist Nancy McCombs testified and said the multiple bullet casings recovered could be from the same gun. No weapon was ever found during the investigation.
Prosecutors punched holes in the testimony of a witness that changed his previous account on the stand, and Palm Springs police investigators testified to evidence gathered at the scene.
WEEK 2 IN COURT:
During the second week in court, the jury heard from Larin Garcia’s mother, who says she received a call from her son the night of the murders.
Two police officers who responded on the night of the killings also spoke. One testified that he saw a “tall, thin” figure running near one of the crime scenes, but that person was never found or brought in for questioning. Larin-Garcia is not described as tall or thin. The court also heard from a family friend of Larin Garcia who helped him buy a one-way ticket to Florida the day after the murders. Larin Garcia was arrested before he could leave.
The court also heard from several witnesses, including a neighbor, police inspector and former friend of the accused. The friend shared that Larin Garcia said he wanted to rob one of the victims before the murders.
WEEK 1 IN COURT:
During the first week of the hearing, the prosecution delivered its opening statement. The defense then delivered its opening statement, saying another man, John Olvera, was responsible for all four deaths.
Several witnesses were called to the stand, including a Palm Springs Police Department dispatch supervisor, several neighbors who heard gunshots or saw the bodies of the victims, and people who personally knew the victims. The court also heard that 17-year-old victim Yuliana Garcia was pregnant at the time of her death.