Jury to begin deliberation in Larin Garcia quadruple murder trial
Closing arguments ended Wednesday in the murder trial of Jose Vladimir Larin Garcia, charged with four fatal shootings on the night of Feb. 3, 2019, in Palm Springs.
After a rebuttal from the prosecution, the closing arguments are over and the case is now officially in the hands of the jury. Jury members determine their schedules and we expect deliberations to begin tomorrow.
— Jake Ingrassia (@JakeKESQ) February 23, 2022
Assistant District Attorney Samantha Paixao continued her closing argument after delivering part one to the jury on Tuesday.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to hold [Larin Garcia] responsible for the mass murder of February 3, 2019,” Paixao said.
Paixao has spoken about the combination of evidence that she says points to Larin Garcia’s guilt, including three attempted flight attempts after the murders.
First, she said Larin Garcia hid under a truck near the crime scene, taking off his shoes and jacket on a cold February night – which were covered in the victims’ blood.
She showed the jury video of Larin Garcia running out of the hospital in the middle of the night, without being released.
Finally, Paixao pointed out that Larin Garcia shaved his head and tried to buy a one-way Greyhound bus ticket to Florida under the name “Joseph Brown”.
By comparing the conflicting analyzes of blood spatter experts, the prosecution separated the defense’s experiments that claimed to show someone else’s involvement in the murders.
“You don’t have to be a scientific expert to know that 1% milk with red dye is not the same as blood,” Paixao told the jury.
Hello, closing arguments are scheduled to continue today in the Palm Springs quadruple murder trial for Jose Larin Garcia. Follow live updates in the thread below.
More background: https://t.co/voXtnQNCoW
— Jake Ingrassia (@JakeKESQ) February 23, 2022
In an undercover operation with law enforcement posing as inmates inside Larin Garcia’s jail cell, Larin Garcia uttered the Spanish word “Fregada”, which translates to an expletive.
“‘F***ed’, right?” Peaceao said. “Because that’s what he was. He tried to run away, but he got caught.
Criminal defense attorney John Dolan also gave his closing argument, trying to convince the jury that another man – John Olvera – is the real killer. Olvera testified during the trial that he was not involved.
“The proof is not there. The people are alleging four murders and they haven’t proven it,” Dolan said. “Mr. Olvera is guilty of these crimes. He is the one who did it, he took responsibility for them in his statements.”
Responding to claims that Larin Garcia was on the run, Dolan said he was – the real killer. “How can a big guy like that get under a truck? You have to take off your jacket, take off your shoes,” he said.
Dolan claimed Larin Garcia was trapped by police with a casing in the trunk of his Honda Civic that matched those found at the crime scene, and urged the jury not to miscall. “Don’t condemn an innocent person,” he said.
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 7 IN COURT:
The prosecution and the defense have closed their case. A bloodstain pattern interpreter testifying for the prosecution said the defense’s peer expert “sometimes misleads the jury.”
The defense expert disputed a prosecution report on the blood spatter claiming that Larin Garcia was the only other person in the car where the victims were shot.
He said he replaced blood with milk in his own re-enactments of the shooting, but said it proved another person, the real killer, could have been in the car.
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.
The jurors heard from the main 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:
In week three 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 hearings, 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.