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Man accused of shooting sleeping ex-girlfriend must stand trial

SERGIO MARQUEZ 2
Sergio Marquez (Courtesy of Palm Springs Police Department)

A Desert Hot Springs man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend in the leg as she slept in her Palm Springs apartment must stand trial on attempted murder and other felony charges, a judge ruled today.

Sergio Juan Marques, 41, was arrested about 6 1/2 months after the June 8, 2019, shooting at the Palos Verdes Villas apartment complex at 392 E. Stevens Road.

At a preliminary hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling ruled that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence for Marques proceed to trial on one count each of attempted murder, spousal abuse and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

Sterling kept the defendant's bail at $1 million, and scheduled a post- preliminary hearing arraignment for Sept. 28.

Jovanna Tapia testified that she dated the defendant for about three months before breaking up with him. She said he had become overly possessive and jealous, and in one instance slapped her.

"I asked him to leave one night and from that moment everything changed," she said.

Tapia alleged that after the break-up, Marques began stalking her, and even once texted her a picture of a handgun.

Tapia said that on the day of the shooting, she was sleeping when she awoke about 2 a.m. to pain in her thigh and saw her first floor bedroom sliding glass window shattered. She then yelled for her young daughter, who was sleeping in the next room, to call 911. Police arrived shortly afterward and found the victim wounded, but no suspects at the scene, according to Palm Springs Police Department Detective Edman Escallada.

Police found .45-caliber rounds at the scene, Escallada said. A handgun of the same caliber was later located in a vehicle belonging to the defendant, the detective testified. Police also used the defendant's cellphone number to place him near the victim's apartment at the time of the shooting, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Tripp.

Tapia testified she did not see who shot her, but told police that Marques was the probable shooter based on his alleged stalking behavior. Marques' roommate told police that the defendant had asked her if she "could hire or find somebody to shoot Ms. Tapia,'' Escallada testified.

The defendant allegedly told his roommate repeatedly that he wanted somebody to shoot his ex-girlfriend in order to scare her into leaving him alone after alleging she was in fact bothering him, according to Escallada.

Marques was eventually arrested Jan. 24 at a home in Desert Hot Springs

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