Investigator testifies he didn’t plant evidence to frame Palm Springs quadruple murder suspect
In the trial for accused quadruple murderer Jose Larin Garcia Wednesday, several law enforcement investigators shared more information about the man the defense claims is guilty, and two vehicles crucial to the case.
District Attorney's office investigator Sean Dusek dug into John Olvera, the man the defense says committed the crimes.
Earlier in the trial, Olvera told the court that despite posts on his social media pages appearing to take credit for the murder, he's just a "wannabe gangster," and had no involvement.
Dusek revealed that in a Nov. 2021 interview, Olvera told him he would kill victim Jacob Montgomery and defendant Larin Garcia if given the chance.
Dusek then said Olvera told him that he didn't kill any of the victims in this case, consistent with Olvera's testimony two weeks ago.
Investigator Chris Duthaler with Palm Springs Police Dept. testified – he searched Larin Garcia's Honda Civic after the murders.
The key piece of evidence buried in what Duthaler called a "very dirty" car was a zip lock back with a spent bullet casing that prosecutors say links Larin Garcia to the murders.
The defense said it was plated there, but when asked by the prosecution, Duthaler said everything was photographed exactly as he found it, and he didn't put the casing there to frame Larin Garcia.
Officer Jose Arellano with PSPD analyzed the collision on E. Sunny Dunes Road where three of the victims were shot inside a green Toyota Corolla. Police said the car crashed into a red Jeep before slamming into a low brick wall.
Arellono said he saw a significant amount of blood spatter on the rear bumper of the jeep, indicating to him the victims had been shot prior to impact.
The last few weeks, the public hasn't been permitted in the courtroom due to Covid and the jury social distancing, but starting Thursday, the judge will allow one person from each of the victim's families and Larin Garcia's mother to come observe the case.
The judge said there's additional room available now that 6 alternates have been excused.
Tuesday, a coroner's office forensic pathologist testified about autopsy results for victims Jacob Montgomery and Juan Duarte Raya. They were each shot twice in the head and killed almost instantly.
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 4 IN COURT:
In the fourth week, there was an intense debate over whether Jose Larin Garcia fled the hospital following 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 from undercover agents who posed as inmates and spoke with the defendant at length after the crimes.
WEEK 3 IN COURT:
The third week in this trial, jurors heard from John Olvera, the 18-year-old who the defense argues is actually responsible. Police investigated posts on his social media accounts that appeared to take credit for the murders, but Olvera testified in several instances he was publishing rap lyrics or "fronting" as a "wannabe gangster."
Department of Justice forensics specialist Nancy McCombs testified and said the multiple bullet casings that were recovered could have come from the same gun. No weapon was ever found in the investigation.
Prosecutors poked holes in testimony from one witness who changed his previous account on the stand, and Palm Springs police investigators testified about the evidence collected from 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 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.