Court was back in session in Indio Monday in the trial for Jose Larin Garcia, the man accused of killing four people in Palm Springs nearly three years ago.
Jurors heard from John Olvera, the 18-year-old man the defense has argued is responsible. Questioned under oath on the witness stand, Olvera told the jury unequivocally he's innocent.
You can follow live court updates from News Channel 3 reporter Jake Ingrassia here:
Good morning, court is back in session in Indio today after recess last Thursday in the trial for Jose Larin-Garcia, the man accused of killing four people in Palm Springs in Feb. 2019. @KESQ— Jake Ingrassia (@JakeKESQ) January 10, 2022
⬇️ Follow along with our live coverage here ⬇️
Social media messages brought in by the defense allegedly show Olvera taking credit for the murders.
Olvera testified that he was merely posing online, calling himself "a watered down gangster," or a "wangster."
Asked directly by prosecutors if he killed the four victims, Olvera testified no.
He said, "I was fronting for the 'gram, fronting for the media... I'm a wannabe rapper."
Olvera testified popular rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again was an idol and an inspiration. YoungBoy's lyrics chronicle drug use, murders and illegal activity.
The social media posts were simply rap lyrics, Olvera said, testifying, "I'm a wannabe then, I'm a wannabe now and I'm a wannabe in the future."
Olvera said he never knew three of the victims personally, but was entangled at one time in what police called "street beef" with victim Jacob Montgomery and defendant Larin Garcia.
Police last week said Olvera similarly took credit for a murder outside Zelda's nightclub in Palm Springs. HE was not arrested in that case after being questioned by police.
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 and killed on the night of February 3rd, 2019.
Three of the victims were found inside a car that crashed at Sunny Dunes and El Placer roads. The fourth victim was discovered in the street on Canon Dr. few blocks away.
When police arrived on scene, they found Larin Garcia hiding under a truck. They say he appeared intoxicated and covered in blood.
Larin Garcia was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center for treatment. Security footage shows him running away from the property later that night.
Detectives have testified he then went to a friend’s house who he had buy him a one-way bus ticket to Florida using a fake name. Prosecutors say he was preparing to flee – shaving his head and beard to change his appearance. He was arrested waiting at the bus stop.
Larin Garcia is charged with four counts of murder. He also faces a special-circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders, opening him to the death penalty if convicted.
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 on the night of the murders.
Two police officers who responded on the night of the murders also took the stand. One testified 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 depart.
The court also heard from several witnesses including a neighbor, police detective and former friend of the accused. The friend shared that Larin Garcia had said he wanted to rob one of the victims prior to the killings.
WEEK 1 IN COURT:
During the first week in court, the prosecution delivered their opening statement. The defense then delivered their opening statement, arguing another man, John Olvera, is responsible for the 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 victims' bodies, and individuals who knew the victims personally. The court also learned that 17-year-old victim Yuliana Garcia was pregnant at the time of her death.