Palm Springs Quadruple Murder Trial: Weapons Expert Says Single Gun Could Have Been Used
Further testimony was given on Tuesday during the murder trial of Jose Larin Garcia, the Cathedral City man accused of shooting four people in Palm Springs in 2019.
Jurors heard from a weapons expert who testified about forensic evidence gathered at the murder scenes.
Department of Justice forensic specialist Nancy McCombs spoke, telling the court several recovered bullet casings could have been from the same gun. No weapons were ever found in the investigation.
McCombs determined the weapon to be a 9mm semi-automatic handgun because all bullets found were 9mm, although manufactured by different companies. The analysis of the marks printed on the shell casings was similar, she said, indicating that they were fired with the same pistol.
Prosecutors said bullet casings were found inside the Toyota Corolla in which police said three of the victims were shot dead in match casings found in Larin Garcia’s car.
During a search of Larin Garcia’s home in Cathedral City, police found a bloody shirt and 9mm ammunition.
The defense argues that only blood spatter connects the accused to the crime scene, and the lack of a murder weapon leaves a great void in the investigation.
On Monday, jurors heard from John Olvera, the 18-year-old who the defense says is in fact responsible. Police investigated posts on his social media accounts that appeared to take credit for the murders, but Olvera has repeatedly testified that he posted rap lyrics or “portrayed” himself as a “gangster.” budding ”.
Olvera testified that he was simply posing online, saying he was “a watered-down gangster” or a “wangster.”
Asked directly by prosecutors if he killed all four victims, Olvera said no. “I was promoting for the ‘gram, defense for the media… I’m an aspiring rapper,” he said.
Olvera has been excused from the stand although he may be brought back later in the trial.
News Channel 3 reporter Jake Ingrassia follows the case – follow his updates on Twitter here.
Jose Larin Garcia, a man from Cathedral City, is accused of killing four people (aged 17 to 25): Carlos Campos, Jacob Montgomery, Yuliana Garcia and Juan Duarte Raya almost three years ago.
The four victims were all found shot dead on the night of February 3, 2019.
Three of the victims were found inside a car that crashed into Sunny Dunes and El Placer roads. The fourth victim was found on the street on Canon Dr. a few blocks away.
When the police arrived at 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 Regional Desert Medical Center for treatment. Security footage shows him running away from the property later that night.
Detectives testified that he then went to a friend’s house who bought him a one-way bus ticket to Florida using a false name. Prosecutors said 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, which puts him at risk of death if convicted.
WEEK 2 AT THE COURT:
In the second week of court hearing, the jury heard from Larin Garcia’s mother, who says she received a call from her son on the night of the murders.
Two police officers who responded on the night of the murders also spoke. One of them said he saw a “tall and thin” figure running near one of the crime scenes, but this person was never found or brought up for questioning. Larin-Garcia is not described as tall or thin. The court also heard from a friend of Larin Garcia’s family who helped him purchase a one-way ticket to Florida the day after the murders. Larin Garcia was arrested before his departure.
The court also heard from several witnesses including a neighbor, a police inspector and a former friend of the accused. The friend shared that Larin Garcia had said he wanted to rob one of the victims before the murders.
WEEK 1 AT THE COURT:
During the first week of the hearing, the prosecution delivered its opening statement. The defense then made their opening statement, claiming that another man, John Olvera, is responsible for the four deaths.
Several witnesses were called to the stand, including a dispatch supervisor from the Palm Springs Police Department, several neighbors who heard gunshots or saw the bodies of the victims, and people who knew the victims personally. The court also heard that the 17-year-old victim, Yuliana Garcia, was pregnant at the time of her death.